Monday, 14 June 2010

Union Democracy or Barony?

Geoff Southern had a large advertisement in the JEP recently, sponsored by the UNITE union.
People have wondered if the Unite members were balloted over their funding for this advertisement, and if not, why not?

In fact, I have done a bit of checking up, and I can confirm from speaking to several Union members that they certainly knew nothing about it.

I would also just comment that if they did not ballot members, that is not Geoff's fault. If they came to him, and said "we can sponsor you" - it is their decision, their responsibility, and not his; it would be unfair to blame him for how the union may behave in using funds without asking their membership.

Perhaps he should have asked if the membership were behind that, but they may not need to consult the membership on matters like that, and who would look a gift horse in the mouth?

In England, laws were introduced in the 1980s to ensure that the Unions behaved in a more democratic manner, and the Union leaders could not so easily behave like Barons as if the Unions were their own personal fiefdoms. This does not appear to be the case in Jersey. Perhaps, in the interests of democracy, and accountability, the JDA could look into this - maybe a job for Deputy Southern?

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