Paul Kenny – a hard act to follow

Kenny in Dublin

The scenes at GMB Congress last week in Dublin were electrifyingly emotional when General Secretary, Paul Kenny, announced that there would be an election for General Secretary, but that he could not commit to another five years. The affection that activists hold for PK meant that when the news that many of us were expecting became a reality, there was still shock, and a spontaneous standing ovation, with many delegates in tears.

In my opinion there are two aspects to PK’s popularity. A very important attribute is that he personally treats members and activists with respect, and the easy rapport that Paul has with president, Mary Turner, ensures that GMB Congresses have more of the atmosphere of a big family gathering.

But PK’s popularity is also based upon success. Membership has grown from 571000 in 2004 to 630000 today, including growth of 8500 members in the last twelve months; net asset values have grown from £25 million in 2003 to £69 million today, and each year under PK has seen an operating surplus, compared to regular annual losses in the preceding period. Both membership and the financial health of the union have grown year on year. To put this in perspective, the much vaunted membership growth of RMT under Bob Crow did see a boost from 57000 in 2002 until reaching 80041 in 2008, but then growth stopped and between that year and up to 2013 membership only reached 80105 (This is the last year for which a return has been made to the Certification Officer)

In addition, after one year of trading, the trade union owned law firm, Unionline, a joint enterprise between GMB and CWU now has a Work in Progress (WIP) sheet of £25 million, giving an estimated valuation of £150 million. Rule revision at this year’s Congress has embedded Unionline into the GMB’s rulebook, so that the asset could not be disposed of without reference to, and a vote by, GMB Congress delegates. In contrast, while Unionline’s profits are fed back into building the union, many traditional law firms associated with the union movement pay million pound bonuses to directors.

Participation and inclusivity has improved. Annual Congresses have been restored, and with more delegates, including measures to ensure the participation of underrepresented groups. GMB now has as many women as men in membership, and representation of delegates at Congess reflects the full diversity of the union’s membership. GMB has also undertaken a more critical engagement with the Labour Party, encouraging members to become involved and to promote candidates and policies in the interests of working people, but perhaps with less public gestures towards the gallery then other unions make.

A significant change has been the introduction of the GMB@Work organizing agenda, which recognizes that employers and their workforce have opposing interest, that it is the process of industrial relations which builds the union, and that every workplace needs to be organized so that an industrial action ballot could be run. Implementation of GMB@Work is uneven, but there are significant advances in membership density and results for members where it has been done well.

When Kenny first took over the union in 2005 as Acting General Secretary, (in the wake of a scandal surrounding the circumstances of former GS Kevin Curran’s 2003 election) the union looked in a bad way, and a shotgun wedding with TGWU on unfavourable terms looked inevitable. Kenny turned the situation around and it is therefore no exaggeration to say that the very existence today of GMB as a healthy, solvent, independent and combative union is his achievement. Kenny gave a new confidence to GMB, and swept away the old habits of industrial partnership; in his own words:

“I am sick of people trying to camouflage what we are about. We are a vested interest and proud to be one. Our vested interest is the working people of this country, the people who have no other voice than the trade union movement.……. I do not go to parties and introduce myself as an “industrial relations expert” or a “purveyor of partnerships”. I am proud of what we do, who we are, and where we have come from … The fact that there is decent pay, or a pension scheme, or proper health and safety, or respect from the management is down to union organisation”

There will now be an election for a new General Secretary, and we must choose wisely so that the union which Kenny returned to the combative traditions of its founders, Will Thorne and Eleanor Marx, and which has been returned to the control of its lay members, continues to build upon those acheivements.

picture credit : Rachel Harrison from Twitter

51 comments on “Paul Kenny – a hard act to follow

  1. John on said:

    ‘the much vaunted membership growth of RMT under Bob Crow’

    Bob Crow was never offered a knighthood by the Queen, nor has Arthur Scargill been offered one. I feel confident in asserting that if either had they would not have accepted.

    What do you feel is the difference between Bob Crow and Arthur Scargill as trade union leaders, and Paul Kenny? Why is it that the establishment has seen fit to recognise PK but not those two?

    It’s a serious question.

  2. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Why is it that the establishment has seen fit to recognise PK but not those two?

    There have of course been a number of trade union leaders who have had either knighthoods or peerages offered.

    However, I think the key difference is the mechanism by which nominations are made, by the leader of the opposition. And naturally the leader of an affiliated union will have a closer working relationship to the leader of the Labour Party then either Scargill or Crow would have.

  3. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    Another aspect is that you cite two particularly ideological trade unionists. The relationship between socialist ideology and sucessful organising is not a simple one, and the linkage between the two is sometimes weak

  4. Sam64 on said:

    Well I can see the point of this article in redressing the balance if you like. And there are some interesting points, one of which I’ll come to in a moment. However, I thought it was rather spoiled by this snide aside in stressing the GMB growth in membership, something I am sure Paul Kenny can take some credit for:

    ‘To put this in perspective, the much vaunted membership growth of RMT under Bob Crow did see a boost from 57000 in 2002 until reaching 80041 in 2008, but then growth stopped and between that year and up to 2013 membership only reached 80105 (This is the last year for which a return has been made to the Certification Officer)’.

    To many regulars here, this harks back to that thoroughly insensitive article you wrote after the death of Bob Crow, March 2014, something you took a fearful hammering for here on SU. Frankly Andy, it just looks as though you can’t get over making such a public mistake. Look, none of us are perfect, far from it, but sometimes it is simply best just to leave the mistakes we all make behind and move on.

    On that note, here’s a serious question from one trade unionist to another. A read recently that TU membership is down to 15% in the private sector. Any idea what proportion of GMB members are employed in private business and industry?

  5. Andy you are defending the indefensible, by accepting a knighthood Kenny has betrayed the people he represents. The honours system is an integral part of the wretched English class system which ensures the UK is one of the most unequal nations in the western world, and you know it. There is absolutely no political reason why anyone should take a knighthood, your argument might hold a drop of water on the lords, although not for me, as it is not going to go quietly into the night LP members should boycott it totally, thus making it unworkable in a democratic context. The only reason people accept betsy’s baubles is vanity, egoism or self interest, normally their is an element of all three.

    Rather than talking about membership numbers and profits of in house company, what are the statistics on wages earned my members. How has it resin over the last 5 years, have working conditions improved? That is the only real mesure of a trade unions success. I do not know the answer in the case of Kenny, but I do know Bob Crowe was a very able negotiator.

    By the way forgive my ignorance but why was the GMB conference in Dublin?

  6. John on said:

    Andy Newman: Another aspect is that you cite two particularly ideological trade unionists. The relationship between socialist ideology and sucessful organising is not a simple one, and the linkage between the two is sometimes weak

    I’d say that being ideologically driven is a prerequisite for a trade union leader worth his or her salt, Andy. I think both Arthur Scargill and Bob Crow’s place in working class history is far more assured than Paul Kenny’s. Their legacies are and will be measured in their willingness to challenge the status quo, not how much money their respective unions managed to accrue during their time at the helm.

  7. Andy Newman on said:

    Sam64,

    Around 50% of GMB membership is in the private sector.

    The thing about the RMT comparison is that it us a real and constant argument that the particular strategy of trade unionism of that union under Brother Crow was exceptional. Only in these last few days I had an argument with a younger GMB official who was saying that RMT had done better; and is more politically effective than our own union. Now the judgement about political effectiveness is a subjective one, but the issue of industrial effectiveness can be measured to a certain degree by membership growth, density, etc.

    The mythology is that Crow’s apparent class war approach had been uniquely effective, and that RMT’s growth was unprecedented.

    The stakes are high because the advocates of RMT’s approach argue that it can be transfered to other sectors, which do not share the peculiarities of the rail industry, with traditional recognition, relatively high preexistant density, high commercial and political impact of industrial action.

    The danger is that a decontextualised evaluation of RMT’s early growth, which neither factors in the sectoral peculiarities, nor accounts for why the growth stopped, will lead to the wrong conclusions being applied in an already parlous trade union movement. If we get this wrong and apply trade union sttategy and tactics which are inappropriate in other sectors, then we could weaken ourselves.

    Perhaps you are correct that it was insensitive for me to take up that argument against those mythologising the RMT in the immediate period after Bob died, a man for whom I had enormous personal respect and affection.

    However in my experience, any attempt to critique the myth of the RMT’s alleged exveptionalism ALWAYS evokes a hostile response for those who want to romanticise ttade unionism, rather than practice it

  8. Andy Newman on said:

    Mick Hall,

    It was the second time Congress has been in Dublin, last time in 1891 when the second largest branch was there, and Eleanor Marx was elected to the executive. It was also the Gas Workers who gave James Connolly a job in Dublin. So we had the history, and in the present we do organise in the republic, though not a major player.

    I think a big factor was a very attractive conference centre at a competitive price

  9. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    Well yes, sucessful trade unionism is ideological, but the mainstream ideology is social democratic. GMB is a far less conservative union now than it has been for many years, and now sits comfortable with its own Marxist legacy.

    I dont know how Scargill or Crow will be remembered, but neither of them left as strong or lasting legacy as Will Thorne.

    John,

  10. Joseph on said:

    Sir Paul Kenny has made a fantastic contribution to the union movement and will be sorely missed by working people.

  11. A few decades on from now, once the political passions associated with their names are no longer a factor, I wouldn’t expect the legacies of Arthur Scargill on the one hand, and Bob Crow on the other, to be remembered in the same way.

  12. Frank on said:

    It’s the first time I have posted on here for a while. Andy Newman seems to be struggling with the socialist ABC’s. Surely it’s a no-brainer for socialists to condemn a working class leader for accepting a knighthood. Andy are you even aware of your drift to the right?

  13. Mickhail Bakunin on said:

    “A significant change has been the introduction of the GMB@Work organizing agenda, which recognizes that employers and their workforce have opposing interest.”

    Probably not a good idea to shake hands with the queen then!

  14. John C on said:

    Interesting stats on membership growth. I’m told a lot of this has come from the Southern Region of GMB with 12,000 growth in 3 years. Perhaps Paul Maloney should be standing

  15. Duncan on said:

    You make an odd comparison between the growth in membership of the RMT and the GMB. Given the disparity in size between the two unions, the more relevant measure is percentage growth rather than actual numbers. The GMB grew by 10.3% between 2004 and 2014, which is impressive, but the RMT grew by 40.4% between 2004 and 2008, and has subsequently retained these members.

  16. nattyfoc on said:

    What a sycophantic load of bilge/ nonsense that article is during Kenny’s time the GMB Union came top for being the worst employer in the Nation it lost more ET’s than any other employer and that includes Asda Tesco’s Ford’s and all the other charming companys out there, something Sir Paul somehow left out of his speech in Dublin and somehow Andy forgot to mention that why? Remember the GMB purports to be a Union and has attained this factual record !

    And then theres the recently imposed Pay cuts on virtually all staff at the Euston Office even the receptionist on the door down from £25000 to £23000 i believe, theres no information on the general secretary taking a wage cut though …….strange that??

    a union imposes wage cuts, amazing and the response of those receiving the wage cut even more amazing they stood for it without any industrial action ………….unbelievable !!

    Paul Kenny an absolute disgrace rest assured the truth will out in an upcoming court case!

    Andy is it true your on the payroll of the GMB as i am led to believe?

  17. Duncan: the RMT grew by 40.4% between 2004 and 2008, and has subsequently retained these members.

    But more pertinently, has had effectively zero net growth between 2008 and today, and its particular industrial relations model, has not rolled out easily to, for example, buses accross the UK.

    You are correct to flag up the massive achievement of the early growth, which is an unalloyed success. The comparison with the later period of consolidation rather then continued growth is relevent to the argument that the RMT’s modelis transferable to other sectors

  18. Vanya on said:

    nattyfoc: during Kenny’s time the GMB Union came top for being the worst employer in the Nation it lost more ET’s than any other employer and that includes Asda Tesco’s Ford’s and all the other charming companys out there,

    Interesting.

    Without seeing the evidence it’s difficult to comment.

    I suppose it’s easy to get hold of the statistics that prove this?

  19. Saul on said:

    Trade Union leaders should not accept knighthoods. Full stop. ’tis as simple as that.

  20. nattyfoc on said:

    Andy Newman: No, I am a branch secretary, which as you well know is a lay member position

    I want aware of that, how would i be Andy?

    note you ignore the other issues i flagged up as expected !

  21. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya: Interesting.

    Without seeing the evidence it’s difficult to comment.

    I suppose it’s easy to get hold of the statistics that prove this?

    Vanya my computer skills are somewhat limited as you will have noticed and i’m off on hols tomorrow in the meantime i expect some one will post the relevant “tags” if not i will arrange for them to be posted upon my return.There is no doubt this accolade was well deserved” The Nations worst employer The GMB Union “

  22. Vanya on said:

    #23 Please do. I’m surprised that the Daily Mail didn’t make reference to it in their article attacking PK over the knighthood, where they make the link between the nomination coming from Ed Miliband and the GMB voting for him for Labour leader.

    Strange for them to miss such an opportunity.

    After all there’s nothing like a bit of hypocrisy, real or alleged, to have a go at the unions and put people off joining.

    Anyway, I’ll wait for you or one of your friends to post the evidence.

  23. Karl Stewart on said:

    Duncan: the RMT grew by 40.4% between 2004 and 2008

    Yes, that is huge growth. Was it recruitment or a merger?

  24. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya:
    #23 Please do. I’m surprised that the Daily Mail didn’t make reference to it in their article attacking PK over the knighthood, where they make the link between the nomination coming from Ed Miliband and the GMB votingfor him for Labour leader.

    Strange for them to miss such an opportunity.

    After all there’s nothing like a bit of hypocrisy,real or alleged, to have a go at the unions and put people off joining.

    Anyway,I’ll wait for you or one of your friends to post the evidence.

    Methinks the Daily Heil are preparing another article on PK quoting his support reputedly for Republic it looks like this will run and run !

  25. Joseph on said:

    I didn’t hear the interview but I’ve heard that Sir Paul got into a rather uncomfortable situation with John Humphreys on the Today programme.

  26. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya,

    Vanya it appears the years concerned were 2003 and 2013 when the GMB lost more ET’s as an employer than any other employer during those years, quite an achievement for a Union ! and in my experience very typical of the attitude within the organisation!

  27. nattyfoc on said:

    Saul:
    Trade Union leaders should not accept knighthoods. Full stop. ’tis as simple as that.

    Plenty agreeing with you Saul including Brian Reade Daily Mirror who coat’s the groveller big time !

    been on hols and am wondering what happend to the thread on this disgusting betrayal of trade Union principles ?

  28. Vanya on said:

    #29 I quote, “… i expect some one will post the relevant “tags” if not i will arrange for them to be posted upon my return.”

    Therefore I was hoping for something more in the form of evidence rather than “It appears”.

    I’m a bit funny like that, when someone I don’t know and have no particular reason to believe makes an allegation that I’m not sure about, I like evidence.

    If you don’t feel you need to provide it fair enough. I just won’t feel the need to believe you.

    If you do provide it I will be more than happy to agree that it’s a pretty bad state of affairs.

  29. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya,

    it can be googled my skills are not good on these devices. not doubt yours are?

    The Guardian published the Article the Nations worst employer the GMB! again google it

    The years 2003 and 2013 maybe they will get their hat trick this year their definitely on course …………………….as the recent massive pay cuts imposed on their staff reveal.

  30. Vanya on said:

    #32 your allegation was that this record occured during Kenny’s tenure of office, which began in 2005. The Guardian article which I was able to find is dated feb 2003! and is itself weak on evidence.

    Anyway, the allegation was yours, so it’s for you to provide the evidence. If you can turn on the computer and type you can use google. There’s no more skill involved tham that.

    Btw unions as bad employers is hardly news. Just like progressive charities, human rights law firms and workers’ cooperatives the ethos is frequently do as I say and not as I do.

  31. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya:
    #32 your allegation was that this record occured during Kenny’s tenure of office, which began in 2005. The Guardian article which I was able to find is dated feb 2003!and is itself weak on evidence.

    Anyway, the allegation was yours,so it’s for you to provide the evidence. If you can turn on the computer and type you can use google. There’s no more skill involved tham that.

    Btw unions as bad employers is hardly news. Just like progressive charities, human rights law firms and workers’ cooperatives the ethos is frequently do as I say and not as I do.

    Unions bad employers not news indeed !

    But maybe connected to the awarding and acceptance of a grovellers certificate a knighthood ?

    Had a similiar eejit in NATSOPA many years ago one Richard Briginshaw a CP member corrupt as they come we slung him out of course!

    So he was parachuted into the House of Lords ………………..nothing changes except PK wasn’t deemed worth a Lordship. He got palmed off with being a Sir bleedin hilarious and very demeaning on the GMB in my opinion! A Union with immense potential and some excellent members and officers lets hope the next GS shows some morality unlike PK who sold out grrrrrr……………….i must say much to my surprise……..and i know him very well! He always made much ado of his Republican beliefs and encouraged my writing of articles attacking the Von Windsor scum and making extremely provocative speeches at various annual Congresses’s ……………………wonder what instigated the about face ?

    I know he reads regularly this site so come on Paul explain your behavior of grovelling to the von Windsors !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Vanya on said:

    #34 So more spleen and no more evidence?

    Btw, do the German antecedents of the British royal family make them any more unacceptable?

    Perhaps your nostalgia for the 1970s stretches to Basil Fawlty.

  33. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya:
    #34 So more spleen and no more evidence

    Btw, do the German antecedents of the British royal family make them any more unacceptable?

    Perhaps your nostalgia for the 1970s stretches to Basil Fawlty.

    Basil was Brill ………dont you think?

    Couldnt care a less where the parasites originated meself strangely many of their lickspittle fans do and when its pointed out they get most irritated!

    Plenty of evidence around try PHC magazine GMB column written by yours truly 2001- 2012 where in the GMB’s name the Royals were roundly insulted on a regular basis !!Naturally all contributions went through the GMB first they were called vermin parasites freeloaders etc !

    How about this practice of the GMB under PK they have a building workers Branch so when they require building work in their premises you would expect it to be carried out by Unionised firms ………….no chance the jobs went down the nepotism network!

    Being an ex printer when my Branch required printing i looked at their the GMB’s printed work and surprise surprise non of it had a TU imprint on it ! Naturally i found a TU firm and ensured all our Branch publications had been printed in a TU shop and carried the Company’s TU imprint and of course i personally verified their status by visiting the premises and meeting the FOC……………………all perfectly normal you would think but it caused immense anger amonsgt many officers !

    Note you ignore the Briginshaw fiasco all completely factual !

    Still ive seen at least one GMB National Officer Micky Rix has published a list of Honorable Trade Unionists who have declined honors wonder what PK made of that?

  34. Vanya on said:

    #36 I’m ignoring nothing. I’ll try and make it simple:

    You said that during PK’s tenure of office the GMB had the record as the worst employer in the country in terms of losing tribunals.

    You then clarified that you were referring specifically to 2003 (when he wasn’t in office) and 2013.

    You have not referred to any easily accessible sources and nor have you provided any links to anything that substantiates your specific (and quite bold) allegation.

    I will say that as someone who has represented people professionally in tribunal cases, including cases that have been rejected by unions and union-instructed solicitors, and as someone who tries to keep up to date with such matters, I have not come across this allegation before, and nor is it the sort of thing that a responsible trade unionist should be throwing around without being able to justify it.

    Anyway, I’ve spent enough time discussing the subject- provide the evidence and I’ll read it, if not …

  35. nattyfoc on said:

    Vanya:
    #36 I’m ignoring nothing. I’ll try and make it simple:

    You said that during PK’s tenure of office the GMB had the record as the worst employer in the country in terms of losing tribunals.

    You then clarified that you were referring specifically to 2003 (when he wasn’t in office) and 2013.

    You have not referred to any easily accessible sources and nor have you provided any links to anything that substantiates your specific (and quite bold) allegation.

    I will say that as someone who has represented people professionally in tribunal cases, including cases that have been rejected by unions and union-instructed solicitors, and as someone who tries to keep up to date with such matters, I have not come across this allegation before, and nor is it the sort of thing that a responsible trade unionist should be throwing around without being able to justify it.

    Anyway, I’ve spent enough time discussing the subject- provide the evidence and I’ll read it, if not …

    Venya i am attempting to identify a source of this for you however most of my contacts seem to be on hols at the moment!
    I have no need nor desire to concoct this report and indeed were it not factual you can rest assured someone on here would have contradicted it, they wont of course because they know full well that it will emerge sooner or later.

    I am impressed with your history within the ET world, well done for assisting the victims of oppressive employers, strangely when i joined the GMB they assumed i would be able to represent members within the ET system but of course coming from the Pre Entry closed shop i had no idea what they were talking about, that an employer should have any input on who worked within their company, was involved in any way with disciplinary procedures or overtime allocation or holiday rotas was to me nonsense, all these functions were of course the functions of the Chapel Committee and to even contemplate allowing management involvement was to me heresy.
    Eventually i took some GMB shop steward courses and on workplace organizing they were appalling they bowed to management at every opportunity.

    As for ET’s well the GMB insisted on a 60% chance of winning before they even contemplated pursuing one something which of course was not explained to potential members when recruiting them! and in my experience London Region GMB and i had an office for 9 years in their London Region headquarters in Hendon frequently abandoned long time members who were being sorted by an employer on this pernicious requirement!

    It appears you have knowledge of similar despicable activities by other Union’s, this is of course the inevitable result of allowing legal activities instead of industrial actions to ensure justice for workers.

    Certainly within the Print any attack by management upon a member would be met with an immediate stoppage naturally the employer had no alternative Labour force so the stoppage would be total, and of course we supplied our members with alternative work during disputes surprisingly this led to members being on strike earning more during the dispute than when working at the company they had the dispute with, and of course led us to putting women into Fleet Street press rooms much to the delight of Lord Deedes [Daily Telegraph ] on several occasions, a time warp yes maybe but how it should be and what we should aspire to again in my opinion.

  36. George W on said:

    Sam64:
    Well I can see the point of this article in redressing the balance if you like.And there are some interesting points, one of which I’ll come to in a moment.However, I thought it was rather spoiled by this snideaside in stressing the GMB growth in membership, something I am sure Paul Kenny can take some credit for:

    ‘To put this in perspective, the much vaunted membership growth of RMT under Bob Crow did see a boost from 57000 in 2002 until reaching 80041 in 2008, but then growth stopped and between that year and up to 2013 membership only reached 80105 (This is the last year for which a return has been made to the Certification Officer)’.

    To many regulars here, this harks back to that thoroughly insensitive article you wrote after the death of Bob Crow, March 2014, something you took a fearful hammering for here on SU.Frankly Andy, it just looks as though you can’t get over making such a public mistake.Look, none of us are perfect, far from it, but sometimes it is simply best just to leave the mistakes we all make behind and move on.

    On that note, here’s a serious question from one trade unionist to another.A read recently that TU membership is down to 15% in the private sector.Any idea what proportion of GMB members are employed in private business and industry?

    I guess every time Andy attacks the RMT this will get brought up again. I was horrified to see Andy’s callous, insensitive and deeply insulting efforts to argue that Bob’s legacy was “not exceptional” on the very day he died. But it will be brought up again and again because Andy doesn’t seem to regret it and hasn’t made any sort of apology that I can think of. You can agree or disagree with someone’s point of view but making pains to argue that a person’s legacy wasn’t exceptional on the same day they die is outrageous-what’s even worse is Bob’s legacy was exceptional and you shouldn’t expect such digs from socialists or trade unionists. (Congratulations on Paul’s knighthood-I remember his smug face when he did the dirty on the trades council motion at the TUC last year-which I think the previous year was the last motion Bob ever spoke on at the TUC-solidarity! Unity!)

  37. nattyfoc on said:

    A hard act to follow? remember Paul Kenny never ever won an election of the members in the GMB he was always appointed by a behind the scenes selection process!

    apparently a complaint to the certification officer was initiated but not completed on the occasion of the so called last GS election when a candidates nomination was ruled out of order, it appears the bye laws for the current election are somewhat biased and a complaint to the Certification officer once again appears inevitable, many candidates have made it clear their seeking nomination among them Paul Moloney Paul McCarthy Gary Smith Tim Roache Keith Henderson and rumor has it Maria Ludkin, now i am not a member of the GMB currently but if i were and if the Certification officer allows the election to proceed i would vote for out of that lot either Keith Henderson or Paul Moloney who is doing a cracking job in the GMB Southern Region.and i am certain neither of them would ever grovel to the establishment and accept a so called honor from the Von Windsor thing thereby grossly insulting the GMB and the entire TU movement!

  38. Andy Newman on said:

    nattyfoc: Keith Henderson

    It is worth recalling the point made by Kenny in his reply to John McDonnell, concerning the dismissal of Mr Henderson from his position as a regional organiser.

    “It has become clear during these events that certain people are determined to attack GMB and they have used discredited ex-employees to do so.”

    The facts speak for themselves, GMB is a sucessful union putting on and retaining members, standing up to difficult employers, and in some cases organising workers who other unions consider unorganisable.

    I have to question the agenda of those who think that GMB should be singled out for criticism

  39. nattyfoc on said:

    Andy Newman: It is worth recalling the point made by Kenny in his reply to John McDonnell, concerning the dismissal of Mr Henderson from his position as a regional organiser.

    “It has become clear during these events that certain people are determined to attack GMB and they have used discredited ex-employees to do so.”

    The facts speak for themselves, GMB is a sucessful union putting on and retaining members, standing up to difficult employers, and in some cases organising workers who other unions consider unorganisable.

    I have to question the agenda of those who think that GMB should be singled out for criticism

    As you are well aware Andy that letter to John McDonnell was just part of an ongoing legal case which is due in the high court next January regarding a dispute between the GMB and Keith Henderson and a such i dont believe we should discuss it here.

    For sure the GMB in some regions is putting on members, and well done to them for that, and of course they have been successfull in organising industrys other Unions were unable to Private Hire Drivers in london being one example whose Branch i initiated and was Branch sec of for 11 years !

    Standing upto difficult employers really who? i’m aware of them offering no strike sweet heart deals much to their shame.

    And of course as i have pointed out there is little if any democracy within the GMB, however i am confident that the next GS will reverse that situation and actually allow the membership to directly vote in every election for regional secretary’s and the National President and GS and that those elections will take place every 3 years.
    The GMB to me is well on the road to becoming an excellent Union with fully democratic practices. It has much to be proud of and with some reforms will surely become the best Union in the Uk, theres some truly excellent officers within it anyway thats my belief and my fervent wish!!

  40. nattyfoc on said:

    nattyfoc: As you are well aware Andy that letter to John McDonnell was just part of an ongoing legal case which is due in the high court next January regarding a dispute between the GMB and Keith Henderson and a such i dont believe we should discuss it here.

    For sure the GMB in some regions is putting on members, and well done to them for that, and of course they have been successfull in organising industrys other Unions were unable to Private Hire Drivers in london being one example whose Branch i initiated and was Branch sec of for 11 years !

    Standing upto difficult employers really who? i’m aware of them offering no strike sweet heart deals much to their shame.

    And of course as i have pointed out there is little if any democracy within the GMB, however i am confident that the next GS will reverse that situation and actually allow the membership to directly vote in every election for regional secretary’sand the National Presidentand GS and that those elections will take place every 3 years.The GMB to me is well on the road to becoming an excellent Union with fully democratic practices. It has much to be proud of and with some reforms will surely become the best Union in the Uk, theres some truly excellent officers withinitanyway thats my beliefand my fervent wish!!

    Awaiting for someone to write your response for you Andy, by the way i fully recognise you are a lay official but many on here will not be aware you receive a financial honorarium dont you as you are a full time GMB Southern Region lay official i believe arn’t you?

  41. nattyfoc: i fully recognise you are a lay official but many on here will not be aware you receive a financial honorarium dont you as you are a full time GMB Southern Region lay official i believe arn’t you

    No, I am not full time for the GMB.

    As is common practice in GMB I receive an honorarium as branch secretary – as agreed by my branch. The honorarium is a very long way from being my main source of income, as I have a job as an engineer.

    I think anyone who knows me would recognise that I am not motivated by money. The views I express about GMB are what I think.

  42. nattyfoc on said:

    Andy Newman: No, I am not full time for the GMB.

    As is common practice in GMB I receive an honorarium as branch secretary – as agreed by my branch. The honorarium is a very long way from being my main source of income, as I have a job as an engineer.

    I think anyone who knows me would recognise that I am not motivated by money. The views I express about GMB are what I think.

    fair enough

  43. nattyfoc on said:

    nattyfoc: And the sweat heart deals ie no strike , you first then i will fill in !

    Ok let me help seeing you seem to be struggling Andy heres 2 no strike deals set up by the GMB!

    ASDA.. and ..G4S how about them 2 for a start ?? Somewhat defeats Paul Kennys pathetic bleating about the Tory’s new anti union legislation, NO STRIKE deals render ballot requirements somewhat irrelevant dont you agree, i am sure others will !

    Of course theres plenty more of them perhaps you’d care to post them up and explain why a Union would enter into sweat heart no strike deals ?

    oh and by the way the membership at these company’s were not balloted on these agreements i believe!

  44. nattyfoc: ASDA.. and ..G4S how about them 2 for a start ??

    Is that all you’ve got?

    I am not going to get into a public argument with you, however, some of what you have said here is inaccurate.

    I would make two general observations:

    i) Industrial relations must be judged on what does or does not advance the interests of members and their organisation. That includes an evaluation of your actual industrial strength at the point when any particular agreement is made.

    ii) there is no such thing as a “no strike deal”, even in agreements which include a commitment to binding pendulum arbitration by,for example, ACAS. As voluntary agreement with an emloyer cannot remove a union’s fundamental right to take industrial action,under the terms of the law. Whether or not a union would sanction industrial action that would be outside the voluntarily accepted restrictions of an agreement for binding arbitration would be a question of industrial judgement, depending upn the issue, the sterngth of the membership, etc.

  45. nattyfoc on said:

    Andy Newman: Is that all you’ve got?

    I am not going to get into a public argument with you, however, some of what you have said here is inaccurate.

    I would make two general observations:

    i) Industrial relations must be judged on what does or does not advance the interests of members and their organisation. That includes an evaluation of your actual industrial strength at the point when any particular agreement is made.

    ii) there is no such thing as a “no strike deal”, even in agreements which include a commitment to binding pendulum arbitration by,for example, ACAS. As voluntary agreement with an emloyer cannot remove a union’s fundamental right to take industrial action,under the terms of the law. Whether or not a union would sanction industrial action that would be outside the voluntarily accepted restrictions of an agreement for binding arbitration would be a question of industrial judgement, depending upn the issue, the sterngth of the membership, etc.

    I have thought long and hard about responding to your comments as i do not want my views to interpreted as an attack only on the GMB, but i have no details of other unions signing NO STRIKE BETRAYALS.

    ASADA AND G4S probably 250000 employees pretty insignificant Andy?

    Then theres Gala Casino Mint Casino Noones food products anothyer 100000 employees ?

    Your point about ACAS and binding arbitration just illustrates the bankruptcy of these agreements! They deny members a basic human right to withdraw their Labour ie STRIKE and as such to me are despicable and any Union involveld in these betrayals should in my opinion be expelled from the TUC