It’s all terribly, depressingly, familiar. Isn’t it?

“The majority of British unions, with their complicated structures and tiny turnouts in union elections, suit the far left. It would struggle to retain control if union membership reflected the workforce and strategies were built on consensus rather than diktats of whatever Stalinist or Trotskyist faction could stay awake the longest in the interminable meetings.

There are many reasons why workers are enduring the worst wage stagnation in 145 years – anti-union laws, the decline of heavy industry. One deserves more attention than it receives: workers have the most stagnant leaders in 145 years.”

From an article by Nick Cohen in the Guardian.

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First they came for the potholers….

Host of the second biggest show in the country (the biggest ever having been “Derry Girls”) Stephen Nolan – media friend of our current President – has tonight announced an attack on “the civil servant who looks after pot holes”. What is NIPSA going to do about this  attack to be mounted against a public sector worker? Will the union defend the individual and remonstrate with Nolan or will the union stay silent preferring instead not to rock the boat in an attempt to maintain the relationship with him which allows the President, and other like minded individuals, regular access to his show to promote a certain agenda?

Why has the union, so anti sectarian, been silent on the #boycottnolan campaign? A campaign built around the belief that his show promotes sectarian division. Is it because certain elements of the union value the regional airtime they are afforded to express their particular political view via his show over an opposition to sectarianism?

If we are to be truly anti-sectarian then surely we should not be engaging with, or affording a platform to, sectarianism or those who encourage it.

Just a thought.

Unity is dead. Long live Unity.

Hurrah!

Now that the Broad Left / Socialist Party have managed to rid themselves of that particular distraction they are free to live up to their manifesto promises to end “the cuts” and “austerity”.

We look forward to the publication of their timetable and regular updates of their achievements.

Hello, I’m Spartacus so I am.

So it seems to be a thing now where candidates feel they have to state they are “anti sectarian” in their General Council election blurbs. Why would they have or feel the need to do that? Is it perhaps because of the spectre of political sectarianism that has already been evidenced in the expulsion of two members due to their political leanings still hangs heavy in the air around certain groupings?

I don’t know about you folk but if someone’s introductory statement to me was “Hi, I’m so and so and I’m anti sectarian” I would assume one or more of the following to be the case.

1; They feel the need to distance themselves from association with past behaviours.

2: They think it is some form of validation that differentiates them from everyone else (whereas it is by and large the norm that the majority of people are not, by default, sectarian).

3: They think it makes them special (see 2 above).

4: They think people are stupid enough to be as impressed with such glib statements as they themselves are.

The whole General Council election has a depressingly familiar ring about it where rhetoric and slogans are to the fore and there is a complete absence of any strategy of substance to be seen anywhere.

Here we are nowhere.

“Curiouser and curiouser”.

That’s how the behaviours, structure, processes and political posturing and infighting within NIPSA has been described by a recent Tribunal where an allegation that two members were unjustifiably expelled was found to be true.

In the course of its examination of the claim the Tribunal laid bare the level of political control and interference that is tearing NIPSA apart. It identified the two factions as being equally self serving and, ultimately, politically indistinguishable with certain members claiming to be communist whilst advocating a socialist doctrine.

Both factions are using NIPSA, its members and its member subscription money as a political plaything to advance their political ideologies. While members are facing real challenges in the shape of no pay rises, attacks on their terms and conditions and increasingly hostile attacks from the Government and Assembly these political factions are hell bent on using subscription monies, resources and anything else at their disposal to try and run NIPSA like a political party.

If anyone wants to know just how ridiculous the situation in NIPSA has become they should take the time to read the Tribunal ruling in its entirety. To do so simply click here and in the “Tribunal Name” select “Both” in the “Decision Issued Year” type in 2016. In the “Case ID” box type 00043/15FET and in the “Claimant” box type Fleck. Then on the search results page click on the Word document icon (word_icon) and download the judgement in full. It makes for truly depressing reading.

curiouserandcuriouser

Two indistinguishable factions involved in juvenile political point scoring and in-fighting whilst members suffer.

factions

The union is run by two factions.

undue involvement

Yes, that’s right “…without any undue involvement from members”. A branch run by individuals of a particular political opinion who consider a turnout of less than 2% of the branch to be “such a good turnout”.  Cloud cuckoo land.

We can all see what’s been going on here, can’t we? Sadly this isn’t unique to this branch. For years these politically motivated factions have benefited from low turnouts at branch meetings as it enables them to advance whatever idiotic cause celebre might be seen by them to be en vogue at any particular time without fully democratically engaging the membership.

Many branches controlled by these two factions pay lip service to their members and democracy. The “union” is hemorrhaging membership as a result of the voluntary exit scheme and natural wastage yet the senior officials charged with the oversight of the union, whose very salaries depend on membership subscriptions, turn a blind eye to these malpractices rather than acting to counter the hijacking of the union and the abuses of office which have been clearly identified in this Tribunal ruling.

The General Secretary Alison Millar promised much in the way of change as part of her election campaign. She campaigned on the basis that she was truly independent and not aligned with any faction within the union. Let’s see some of that change. Lets see a strong General Secretary stick to her word and address this issue, openly.

The genie is out of the bottle, the Tribunal has exposed and made a mockery of the political control and infighting which has now seen this union become a laughing stock. A “union” which wastes members subscriptions by ignoring the rule of law, legal advice offered and democracy just to advance a particular political dogma is not a union. It is an organisation in chaos. An organisation too afraid to address its own shortcomings. An organisation which, clearly, allows bullying and which has bullied its way to becoming a vehicle to misrepresent the democratic voice of some 40,000 members to advance a political ideal which even some of its main proponents themselves fail to understand entirely.

ruling

Those involved in this whole sorry affair should be held to account. Those who failed and continue to fail to act appropriately in the interests of all the members should be held to account also. If this “union” aspires to be truly democratic then it must act to prevent this type of gerrymandering of votes, misrepresentation and, as has been the case here, the squandering of money.

It is a travesty that Conference in 2015 called for an increase in subscription fees in times of austerity where no real pay rise has been had for five or six years whilst simultaneously – unknown to the general membership – throwing away funds by ignoring several sets of legal advice, being subjected to proceedings and leaving itself open to ridicule all because of some egotistical political posturing.

Put a stop to this political chicanery. Stop the bullying. Stop the wasting of members subscriptions. Stop the bar stool psychologists advancing their political dogma at the expense of the ordinary paying members who have been taken for a ride for years – blissfully ignorant of what was going on in the union and the various overtly political agendas being advanced.

Your paying members deserve better.

Proof, if it were needed, of how capable the soon to be ex Deputy General Secretary Alison Millar is.

The General Council have decided they need to appoint two men to do the work Alison did by herself.

This will come as no real surprise to anyone who knows Alison but it will come as a monumental shock to some people that there are apparently no interviews to be held (what was that about a “democratic” union?) for the now two full time Deputy General Secretary posts nor any explanation as to how, in a time of austerity and decreasing membership, NIPSA intends to fund their salaries – which we have been led to believe is more than an average members / workers wage.

Hard luck to anyone who was hoping to compete for the post of Deputy General Secretary in a fair and democratic merit based process.