Weight of evidence from Gerard Coyne leads Certification Officer to appoint a retired High Court Judge to investigate Len McCluskeys narrowly won election

The Certification Officer supported by retired High Court Judge Jeffery Burke will soon be holding a hearing into the complaints against Len McCluskey’s election as General Secretary in 2017 with a ruling expected by the end of March 2018.

If the Certification Officer upholds any of the 10 complaints the complainants have asked for Len McCluskey to be immediately removed from office as he will no longer be the General Secretary of Unite and all sums of monies paid to Len McCluskey which were not due to him be paid back to the union.

A brief summary of the complaint from pages of documentary evidence submitted is detailed below.

  • Unite the Union acted in breach of Rule 15.1 by calling an election for General Secretary when the office of General Secretary had not become vacant as Len McCluskey continued to serve in the office of General Secretary. The Union therefore had no power under rule to call an election
  • There were repeated and systematic breaches of the election guidelines and neutrality by Unite employees.
  • Between 23 December 2016 and April 2013 17 union employees used union resources or facilities for election campaigning while at work in support of Len McCluskey’s campaign which was in breach of election guidelines. Examples of some breaches are

Use of union database of branch secretaries to send out communications by officers or employees of the union.

Sending of emails by officers or employees of the union during working hours from [email protected]

Sending out video links by officers or employees of the union to Len McCluskey’s campaign during working hours.

Sending out of false information by officers or employees of the union to branches that had not nominated Len McCluskey.

Organising and facilitating campaign meetings by officers or employees of the union during work time using union resources which included the union paying for travel costs and venue costs.

During work time the use of union email accounts by officers or employees of the union and the use of social media accounts associated to the union to campaign for Len McCluskey

Official Unite conference held in Plymouth also advertised links to the Len McCluskey election campaign.

Official Union visit to the Ipswich office used to promote Len McCluskey’s election campaign in the local media.

Campaign visit to NEYH organised by Unite staff.

Campaign visit to Northern Ireland organised by Unite staff.

Campaign visit to Jersey held in the Jersey Opera house advertised by the union official facebook account.

Printing and advertising posters in Liverpool stating ‘Unite are advising members to vote for Len McCluskey’

  • Senior officers / employees of the union including Steve Turner AGS and Howards Beckett actively sought support for Len McCluskey which forfeited any appearance of neutrality between candidates
  • Gail Cartmail acting GS appointed Howard Beckett to conduct a disciplinary investigation against a Ms Armstrong WM regional officer who was supportive of Gerard Coynes election campaign.
  • Gail Cartmail acting GS, the Executive Council and Simon Hearne used union resources to stop Gerard Coyne from raising and pursuing and investigation into whether £417,000 of union resources had been used in the purchase of a luxury flat for the personal use of Len McCluskey.
  • Unite the Union in breach of guidelines gave access to Len McCluskey’s campaign team to the membership data base.
  • Up to 163 branches that had been dormant and not actively functioning nominated Len McCluskey for General Secretary.
  • In breach of rule 17.11 officers/employees of the union (41 names listed) were appointed or acted as branch secretaries to inactive / suspended branches. These officers/employees in their roles as self appointed branch secretaries facilitated the nomination of Len McCluskey for the position of General Secretary. These Union officers/employees were not appointed in these roles by the executive.
  • Sending out of false information to branches that had not nominated Len McCluskey
  • Howard Beckett AGS and Chief of Staff Andrew Murray harassed and targeted Gerard Coyne via email, telephone and at face to face meetings with threats of disciplinary proceedings with the primary purposes of disrupting Gerard Coyne’s campaign to become General Secretary.
  • Ballot papers were not dispatched in a timely manner and duplicate ballot papers were received late with second class envelopes which allowed for insufficient time for ballots to be returned.
  • The union reported in December 2016 as having 1,282,671 members with and additional 49,158 UCATT members yet it only despatched 1.06 million ballot papers. Rule 15.1 stated that the whole membership of the union apart from retired members shall be eligible to vote in the General Secretary’s election. This did not happen