AN e-mail (see below) has been issued by the Acting General Secretary of Unite, Gail Cartmail, seeking to make Unite memebers aware of a publication 'Unite Herald' apparantly issued by one of the other candidates. It the light of the forthcoming election for General Secretary she claims the 'material contained (in the publication) is also potentially defamatory of Len McCluskey' one of the candidates in the election for General Secretary and widely regarded as the favourite.
The e-mail is in the form of a warning to members 'of the potential implications of distributing “Unite Herald” ', reminding them of the contents of Rule 5.2.
This e-mail comes a day after an allegation by the deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, hadclaimed the grassroots Momentum group is trying to increase its influence by obtaining funding from the Unite union. Unite, which is Labour's largest financial backer, has denied this.Meanwhile, one of the candidates for Unite General Secretary, Gerard Coyne campaigning in Scotland has told activists:
'I don't think it is the job of a union leader to be advising Scottish politicians on which parties should be forming coalitions with one another. That is their responsibility.
'And what I won't do is expend Unite's resources dabbling in Scotland's internal political affairs, except where the direct interests of Unite members are at stake.'
Unite General Secretary Election
You may have received copies of a “newspaper” called “Unite Herald” in your branch or workplace within the last 48 hours.
It needs to be made clear that this is not an official publication of Unite the union. It is in fact campaign promotional material for one of the candidates in the present election for General Secretary.
The publication in question consists almost entirely of attacks on the incumbent General Secretary of the union. It disregards the recent statement by your Executive Council calling upon everyone campaigning in the union elections campaign to conduct themselves in a respectful manner, specifically not in a way that could bring damage to the reputation of the union or discredit on a fellow member. The Union is seeking legal advice regarding potential defamation claims and regarding breach of the union’s trademark arising from this publication.
The material contained is also potentially defamatory of Len McCluskey.
All workplace representatives should therefore be aware that distribution of “Unite Herald” could potentially lead to the distributer being exposed to legal proceedings for defamation.
All workplace representatives are also reminded of Rule 5.2:-
“A member must not knowingly, recklessly or in bad faith provide the Union with false or misleading information relating to a member or any aspect of the Union’s activities.”
The union will of course be dealing with this publication through other avenues, but lay officials and representatives should be aware of the potential implications of distributing “Unite Herald”.
Acting General Secretary
Acting General Secretary