Union official suspended over alleged ballot scam

Barrie Clement,Labour Editor
Friday 31 May 2002 23:00
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A senior supporter of Sir Ken Jackson, the Prime Minister's closest ally in the union movement, has been suspended over alleged attempts to cover up a ballot-rigging scandal.

Roger Maskell, an official at Sir Ken's union, Amicus-AEEU, was accused of an "amateurish" scam in which computer records were wiped. The regional secretary for the union in the South-east of England allegedly tried to hide the involvement of the union's headquarters in the attempt to rig votes to nominate Sir Ken as general secretary of the union.

Four other more junior officials have already admitted they voted twice in the process and the union's executive had to amend results accordingly. The computer records which were erased showed that the "double voters" had been switched from branch to branch in order to boost Sir Ken's campaign to keep the top post beyond his retirement.

Meanwhile, Derek Simpson, a left-wing Derby-based official who is challenging Sir Ken, has been disciplined by the union's executive over advice he gave to members during a dispute. He is accused of ignoring the union's lawyers.

He has also been told that he must not take his holiday in the week beginning 10 June in order to attend the Amicus-AEEU annual conference. The assembly takes place ahead of the election between 24 June and 12 July.

¿ At a preliminary hearing, a High Court action launched by Mark Serwotka to overturn a decision of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) to allow its general secretary, Barry Reamsbottom, to stay in office has been set for the week beginning 15 July. The dispute began when Barry Reamsbottom, general secretary of the PCSU, refused to leave office. Mr Serwotka, a left-winger who was elected to take over as general secretary, launched a High Court action to overturn a decision of the union's moderate-led national executive committee allowing Mr Reamsbottom to remain in his job.

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