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VICTORY – Employment Tribunal finds Stan Keable was Unfairly Dismissed Despite Being Abandoned by UNISON

NOVANEWS

Image result for UNISON UNION CARTOON

 

UNISON HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER– why did unelected officials refuse to defend the right of workers to freedom of speech?

Cast your mind back to March 26th 2018. The Board of Deputies of British Jews held a demonstration against ‘anti-Semitism’ in Parliament Square. Its target was Jeremy Corbyn. We were in the middle of the local election campaign and Luciana Berger, who was a Labour MP before decamping to the Independent Group, had just discovered a 7 year old ‘anti-Semitic’ to beat Jeremy Corbyn over the head with

The Board of Deputies at the time of Oswald Moseley urged Jew to do nothing about fascism

Never before in its history had the Board of Deputies held an anti-racist demonstration. Not during the 1930’s in the battle against  Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists. Not during the 1970’s in the fight against the National Front or in succeeding decades against the BNP and EDL. But when Israel was on the agenda they moved into action

Steve Terry – right-wing Progress Labour councillor and UNISON’s London Regional Organiser faced a conflict of interest and resolved it in his favour

Indeed on October 2nd 1936 the Board specifically issued warnings in the Jewish Chronicle telling Jews to stay away from the BUF march in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street

Letter from Steve Terry advising Stan to apologise and ‘plead mitigating circumstances’

‘Anti-Semitism’ had only, it would seem reared its head under Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing leader of the Labour Party. The fact that he is also a supporter of the Palestinians is entirely coincidental

The Zionists’ Racist Demonstration that Momentum Ignored

But on March 26th 2018, the Board and the Zionists girded their loins and organised a demonstration. Indeed not only the Board but those well known anti-racists Ian Paisley of the DUP, Norman Tebbit, Sajid David and even Chuka Ummuna attended.  It was the strangest ‘anti-racist demonstration ever seen as it seemed to be composed mainly of racists

The late David Cesarani was a Zionist historian confirming Nazi support for the German Zionists, who represented about 3% of the Jewish community

There was also a counter-demonstration to the Zionists organised by Jewish Voice for Labour and supported by Labour Against the Witchhunt.  At the counter demonstration LAW Secretary Stan Keable got into a discussion with a Zionist demonstrator, during the course of which Stan expressed his view that the Zionists had collaborated before the war with the Nazis.


David Grossman, BBC2 journalist – the ethics of a demented skunk  – note how allegations of collaboration have become ‘plotting with Hitler’ and how the Holocaust isn’t antisemitic

The evidence for this point of view is extensive. However a BBC2 Newsnight ‘journalist’ David Grossman secretly filmed the exchange, posting it on social media.  Immediately came a demand by a junior government minister and Tory MP Greg Hands, for Hammersmith Council to dismiss Stan for having the temerity to express his opinions.

Instead of Council leader Steve Cowan telling Hands to get on his bike, this New Labour apparatchik immediately had Stan suspended.

You might think that this was a slam dunk for Stan’s union, UNISON. Stan approached their London Regional Organiser, Steve Terry, to help him fight the case. Little did Stan know that Terry was a right-wing councillor in Walthamstow and a supporter of Progress. Instead of supporting Stan he told him to plead guilty and plead mitigation!

I spoke, briefly to Terry on the phone and pointed out that the suspension was a breach of Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Speech) however he was too arrogant to take advice

Unfortunately it’s not true

I therefore represented Stan at his disciplinary hearing and on May 21st he was dismissed. An appeal was made and London UNISON successfully prevented me representing Stan thereon although the Secretary of the local branch represented him.  The appeal nonetheless failed.

It is therefore gratifying to learn that nearly a year later, the Central London Employment Tribunal has upheld the claim of Stan Keable for unfair dismissal, both procedural and substantive. The judgement has not yet been put online but it took 2 hours to read out.

Beth Bickerstaff, a senior UNISON official, dismisses out of hand Stan’s complaint at the refusal to provide support for Stan’s disciplinary hearing – it is a case of one unelected official covering the back of another

UNISON’s failure to defend the right to free speech of its members is shameful and shocking. There is no excuse for the behaviour of Stephen Terry nor that of his superiors such as Beth Bickerstaffe who upheld the decision of Terry not to give Stan any support.

Why has this happened?  Undoubtedly it is a product of UNISON having adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which effectively outlaws criticism of Zionism. It is a definition which effectively renders UNISON’s policy of BDS and support for the Palestinians as ‘anti-Semitic’. It means that criticism of Zionism, the ideology and movement behind the establishment of the Apartheid State of Israel is also ‘antisemitic’ based as it is on the assumption that all Jews are therefore Zionists

Linda Perks, who broke UNISON’s election rules, was effectively promoted for what she had done
Prentis went out of his way to support Adam Langleben of the Jewish Labour Movement who like a rat left Labour for the TIGs. He is now marshalling the case against Labour before the EHRC

Dave Prentis after last year’s elections, went out of his way to extend his sympathy to a Jewish Labour Movement Councillor and Officer, Adam Langleben who, as a result of the false anti-Semitism campaign, managed to lose his own seat in Hendon West.  Langleben is a scab who subsequently jumped ship entirely and joined Chuka Ummuna’s Independent Group. Who knows where he will now go given the split in the Funny Tinge!

Mark Fischer

The only person penalised throughout all of this was me. On 8th October, after a farcical and incompetent investigation carried by Regional Officer Tony Jones I wassummoned to a disciplinary hearing conducted by 3 Prentis loyalists headed by Mark Fischer.  I was found guilty and sentenced to the heaviest punishment bar expulsion – 3 years suspension with loss of membership rights – for having dared to criticise Terry’s treacherous behaviour. UNISON is run by full-time officials for full-time officials. Members are not supposed to criticise these unelected, overpaid bureaucrats.

Terry himself though did not make a complaint. It was his superior, Maggi Ferncombe, who had previously been SE Regional Secretary. I have previously crossed swords with her. This meant that at the disciplinary hearing I was faced with the somewhat difficult task of cross examining Ferncombe as to what was Terry’s reactions were to my criticisms. For example did he feel intimidated and afraid as was alleged. In essence I was cross examining on what was hearsay.  A somewhat difficult task.

Mark Fischer, as a Prentis loyalist, refused to listen to any mention of the reasons why I had criticised Terry publicly. To him they were irrelevant. Nonetheless during the disciplinary hearing it emerged that I hadn’t been given notes of the original investigation and other discrepancies. These were also disregarded.

Because I secretly taped the meeting I was able to show how I had been hampered in my ability to put forward a defence by the way that the complaint had been made.

However the twist is that although I was required to appeal by November 1st last year, the appeal hearing has still not been heard 7 months later. The original decision has effectively been abandoned. The reason is not hard to work out. How can someone make a complaint on behalf of someone else when that person isn’t willing to complain themselves?  The unfairness is clear even to such a died in the wool bureaucrat as Beth Bickerstaffe (the daughter-in-law of previous UNISON General Secretary Ron Bickerstaffe)

Tony Jones, a South-Eastern regional official who was my investigator – he is also a right-wing Labour councillor!

So the net result is that I am still a member of UNISON with full membership rights! However the original injustice has not been remedied.  Stan was betrayed by UNISON’s full time officials.  They failed to do their job which is to defend the right of a member to hold and express his opinions.

The charges against Stan from his employer were laughable:

1.     That, in attending a counter demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on the 26th March 2018, you knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about your views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the Council’s Code of Conduct.

2.     That you made inappropriate comments which were subsequently circulated on social media which are deemed to be insensitive and likely to be offensive and potentially in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and/or the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Terry could find nothing wrong in these charges which were a direct challenge to an employee’s right to attend a demonstration and a flagrant breach of Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights relating to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Any full-time official who doesn’t understand that such a dismissal is almost certainly going to be unfair and outside what is called the band of reasonable responses should either be retrained or dismissed. It is clear that Terry’s decision was taken on political grounds. Terry’s right-wing politics should not be allowed to interfere with his work which is representing union members.

See:
Stan’s open letter to H&F Councillors:
Mike Cushman – How talking about Zionism can lose you your job’:
Tony Greenstein – No criticism permitted’:
Labour Against the Witchhunt – Stan Keable has won his employment tribunal
Stan Keable – Suspended for Expressing his Opinion on Zionism
What is UNISON for if it doesn’t defend its own members?
Why I face disciplinary action for criticising London Regional Organiser Steve Terry who scabbed on Stan Keable

Suspended from UNISON for Defending Freedom of Speech and the Right of Free Assembly

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