Friday, December 18, 2015

UNISON Lay Presidential team statement on "tampered" recording

Subject: GENERAL SECRETARY ELECTION: COMPLAINT: GREATER LONDON REGION

TO: NEC

SENIOR AND NATIONAL MANAGERS

REGIONAL SECRETARIES

REGIONAL CONVENORS
SERVICE GROUP CHAIRS
RMT - GREATER LONDON REGION

Dear Colleague

As you know a number of serious allegations have been made against our union in London.

The complaints are being investigated.

Whilst it is not our practice to comment on an ongoing investigation on this occasion we believe there is one aspect that warrants public disclosure. This can be done without compromising the rights of those involved in this matter.

The complaint presented by *** *** relies heavily on an anonymous recording. Given the seriousness of this tape the union commissioned an independent forensic report of the recording. The Presidential Team and the Trustees of the union now have the full report from the Audio Forensic Service.

The forensic analysis was undertaken by an accredited audio specialist and the company is used by the High Court for audio evidence.

The report clearly states that "the probability of tampering is exceptionally high". On a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), the Independent Expert rates the tape as a 5/5.

The results have been passed to the Investigating Officer and the ERS and as the Presidential Team and Trustees we are also asking for a formal investigation of the providence of the recording.

Please share as appropriate.

WENDY NICHOLS, PRESIDENT
ERIC ROBERTS, VICE PRESIDENT
CAROL SEWELL, VICE PRESIDENT
MAUREEN LE MARINEL, TRUSTEE
CHRIS TANSLEY, TRUSTEE"

My own personal take on this is that in recent days and weeks I have been ashamed of the behaviour of a small minority of my UNISON National Executive Committee (NEC) "colleagues" and other "activists" for their completely vile behaviour towards members of their own staff.

I don't understand how people who pretend to be principled trade unionists were willing to accept an anonymous internet tape recording as gospel and then name and attack their own employees including  junior staff. By openly and publically naming and accusing them they were obviously in breach of collective employment contracts and prejudicing rights to a fair investigation. This is basic ABC of trade unionism.

Remember the NEC in law is the official employer of all UNISON staff.

If these same people were being openly named by their own employers, before an investigation has even taken place, if for example Councillors were openly attacking them and encouraging the media to do so likewise, they would bleat blue bloody murder.

It is clear even to someone like myself who is no audio expert that this anonymous internet tape has been cut and edited (just count the clicks). I have had enough experience over the years, both as a trade union rep and an enforcement officer to be deeply suspicious and sceptical of any such recordings. Now Court appointed expert witnesses are 100% convinced that this "tape" has been "tampered" and therefore doctored. 

Those NEC members are aware that our Union officials are perfectly entitled to participate and campaign in such elections for candidates of their choice (in their own time and not using union resources). Many of our officials are former Unison lay activists who have retained their membership.

While it is clear that there is some genuine concern about this matter and the investigation needs to be concluded, it is equally clear to me that people have behaved appallingly and are pursing a personal vendetta against staff.

There has already been one grovelling apology and I expect others.

At a time when we are supposed to be uniting against the Tory trade union bill it is incredible that people are attacking our union and its staff and scurrying around trying to inflict damage on our union.

Finally, the real reason why these people act in the way they do is of course related to the result declared yesterday when our General Secretary was re-elected by 49.4% of the vote. They know that they will never win a democratic election by the ballot box, so the only way they think they can win is by lies, abuse and forgery. 
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