Southern Rail dispute: blame the government’s Wilkinson for sabotaging the talks

August 9, 2016 at 3:39 pm (Jim D, RMT, Tory scum, transport, workers)

Amid the sound and fury surrounding the RMT’s strike on Southern Rail, one name is gradually emerging as having played a crucial role in having ensured the action went ahead: Peter Wilkinson.

Mr Wilkinson is managing director of passenger services at the Department for Transport (DfT).

The RMT says that last week  it was “within an inch” of reaching an agreement during talks at Acas. This account is backed by unnamed “sources” who told The Times that a deal had been “within touching distance” but that Southern’s negotiators had suddenly pulled out of the talks at about 4pm on Friday, leading to the collapse of the talks.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT can confirm that we were within an inch of making progress towards boxing off a deal with Southern in Acas talks on Friday afternoon that was based on the offer from ScotRail, an offer that enabled us to suspend all industrial action in the ScotRail guards dispute.

“We were just getting into the detailed wording when suddenly the plug was pulled and our legs were kicked from under us.

“We have it on good authority that the deal, which would have enabled us to suspend the Southern strike action this week, was sabotaged by the Government with their director of rail, Peter Wilkinson, directing operations from outside the talks.

“We are now taking our protest direct to the DfT.

“We want the Government to stop weaponising the Southern dispute for political purposes and we want them to stop treating passengers and staff as collateral damage in a war that Peter Wilkinson has unilaterally declared on the rail unions.”

It appears to be the case that Wilkinson (paid £280,000 per year) intervened to instruct Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway, to reject the deal.

Earlier this year Wilkinson told a Tory public meeting in Croydon:

“Over the next three years we’re going to be having punch ups and we will see industrial action and I want your support,”

“I’m furious about it and it has got to change – we have got to break them,” he added.

“They have all borrowed money to buy cars and got credit cards.

“They can’t afford to spend too long on strike and I will push them into that place.

“They will have to decide if they want to give a good service or get the hell out of my industry.”

 

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End #RailRipOff on Monday – protest at Kings Cross and stations across the country

January 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm (posted by JD, privatisation, profiteers, protest, RMT, Tory scum, transport, Unite the union)

In January, passengers returning to work after Christmas will see their fares rise yet again. Over the last five years rail fares have risen nearly three times faster than average wages. We have the highest commuter fares in Europe, yet services are often overcrowded, late and under-staffed.

Although the government has pledged to cap rail fare rises to inflation for this parliament, fares will still go up by one per cent in January 2016, making already exorbitant season tickets a cost too much to bear for most passengers. The Department for Transport’s own figures reveals the cost of the cap to taxpayers will be £700m over the parliament.

British passengers continue to pay much higher fares than passengers on publicly-owned railways in Europe. We need an affordable railway under public ownership that puts people before profit.

Come and join us at Kings Cross Station on Monday 4th January 07:30am – 09:30, and at stations across the country. We will also be asking supporters to email their MPs – watch this space for more details!

If you would like to organise an action at a station, please get in touch with us at actionforrail@tuc.org.uk.


#EndRailRipOff Protests on Monday 4 January

(please note this list is regularly updated) Read the rest of this entry »

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Letter to Morning Star: nationalist Denny must provide evidence or apologise for slur

June 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm (conspiracy theories, Europe, internationalism, Jim D, RMT, stalinism, trotskyism)

Image result for morning star logo

Dear Comrades,

Brian Denny of the nationalist No2EU campaign, claims (MS June 24) that “Cameron is already building an alliance for his strategy which stretches from the CBI to the more unhinged parts of British Trotskyism”

I presume by “the more unhinged parts of British Trotskyism” Mr Denny is referring to people like myself and the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who refuse to endorse his reactionary nationalist anti-EU stance. Would Mr Denny care to provide one single shred of evidence for his claim that we are in an “alliance” with Cameron? If he fails to do so (as he must) I shall expect an apology. And readers may care to consider who, in this debate, is in reality “unhinged”.

Regards
Jim Denham

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Morning Star cover-up of domestic abuse allegation sparks crisis and resignations

August 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm (apologists and collaborators, corruption, crime, misogyny, posted by JD, RMT, sexism, stalinism, thuggery, unions, women)

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Above: Caroline Leneghan

An extraordinary crisis has erupted at the Morning Star (de facto mouthpiece of the British Communist Party), resulting in the resignations of the editor and the company director. It stems from reporter Rory McKinnon’s questioning of the RMT leadership over allegations of domestic abuse on the part of the union’s assistant general secretary Steve Hedley (which Shiraz covered here).

McKinnon, who resigned from the Star on 25 July, has written an account of what happened to him at the Star, at the blog Another Angry Woman. This is important, not least because much of the British trade union movement (without reference to their membership) funds the Morning Star:

*********************************************************************************************************

This is a guest post by Rory McKinnon. Content warning for domestic violence. It is published with permission of the survivor.

“The public have no right to know”: how the Morning Star threatened to sack me for reporting domestic violence allegations

My name’s Rory MacKinnon, and I’ve been a reporter for the Morning Star for three years now. It’s given me a lot of pride to see how readers and supporters believe so strongly in the paper, from donating what cash they can to hawking it in the streets on miserable Saturday afternoons. I was proud to represent a “broad paper of the left”, as my editor Richard Bagley always put it: a paper that saw feminism, LGBTQ issues, racial politics and the like as integral to its coverage of class struggle.

It’s for this reason that I thought I would have my editor’s support in following up domestic violence allegations against the Rail, Maritime and Transport union’s assistant general secretary Steve Hedley. Instead the Morning Star’s management threatened me with the sack, hauled me through a disciplinary hearing and placed me on a final written warning.

If you want to see my reasons for writing this, skip to the bottom. But I’m a reporter, and in my mind the most important thing is that you all know exactly what’s happened behind closed doors. So let’s get on with it.

—–

Last March a former RMT assistant branch secretary, Caroline Leneghan, went public about what she described as a “violent assault” at the hands of Hedley while they had been in a relationship.

“On this occasion he kicked a pot of paint at me, threw me around by my hair and pinned me to the floor repeatedly punching me in the face.”

Leneghan said she had approached both police and the union after their break-up to seek an investigation: her RMT rep confirmed that police had suggested “a high chance of conviction” but that the six-month window for a charge of common assault had since expired.

Despite this, the union’s then-leadership had decided not to refer the allegations to its national executive for a formal investigation. It was at this point that Leneghan decided to go public (you can find Leneghan’s full statement and photographs here).

Now, I don’t pretend to have any inside knowledge, and at the time I had only just been assigned to a post in Scotland and was busy trying to get my feet in under the table up there. But I am a journalist, and when the union agreed to consider an appeal from Leneghan only to see it eventually withdrawn at her request – amid a pretty vile reaction from some elements of the left – I mentally filed it away as something to keep an eye on.

In March of this year I went as a Morning Star reporter – with the RMT’s approval – to cover its women’s conference in Glasgow. Women I knew of in the RMT were still talking about Leneghan’s case, and it made sense to me as a reporter to follow it up in the public interest, so I took advantage of a Q&A session with the union’s national organising co-ordinator Alan Pottage – a session on recruiting women organisers and combating sexism in the workplace – to ask whether he thought the lack of formal investigation into the allegations against Hedley had affected women members’ perceptions of the union. Pottage declined to comment and the session continued, but when delegates reconvened for the afternoon session the union’s equalities officer Jessica Webb and executive member Denis Connor approached my seat and forcibly ejected me from the conference. (You can find my full statement on the incident here).

The very next day the Morning Star’s editor Richard Bagley informed me that I had been suspended following allegations of gross misconduct and that any public comment I might make “could risk bringing the paper into disrepute and could have a bearing on [my] case”. (You can see the letter here and subsequent charges here.)

Six weeks later, I found myself back in London for a disciplinary hearing, with the company’s secretary Tony Briscoe bringing the charges and Bagley sitting in judgement. But as the Morning Star management’s minutes (for some reason presented as a verbatim transcript), and my own notes here show, it quickly became clear that the real nature of the accusations had nothing to do with the charge sheet and everything to do with appeasement.

From the minutes:

“RB: You have three years’ experience as a Morning Star journalist. Given the type of stories you’ve covered previously do you think the paper would have published a story on the issue you raised?”

—–

“RB: So let’s clarify the role of the Morning Star here: internal union matters are different from inter-union matters.”

—–

“TB: It’s debatable whether the NUJ (National Union of Journalists – Rory) code of conduct applies in a situation such as this and the fact you asked it raises a question about your approach. The question feels more like something a Daily Mail reporter would ask than someone from the Morning Star. You should have known better. This indicates a lack of journalistic etiquette and has damaged our relationship with the trade union movement.”

And from my own notes:

TB: “I would have thought the role of the Morning Star reporter was to progress the aims & goals of the paper.”

—–

TB: “I would expect that sort of question to be asked in the Daily Mail or the Sun.”

—–

TB: “I would say the public has no right to know about the ins-&-outs of the relationship between Leneghan & Hedley.”

Shortly afterwards I received Bagley’s written judgement. Again, you can read it for yourself here, but the thrust of the Morning Star’s editorial policy is below:

“After three years at the paper you should reasonably be expected to be familiar with the paper’s news priorities, which do not include reporting internal union rows or personal controversy. Your actions suggest a fundamental failure to grasp the Morning Star’s news focus, and by extension the role of any journalist employed by it.”

I was placed on a final written warning with twelve months’ probation, then went on to appeal (dismissed, ruling here), but that’s procedural stuff that isn’t strictly relevant.

What’s relevant, to my mind, is that readers cannot trust the Morning Star’s current leadership to report on abuse allegations and failures to formally investigate when they concern favoured figures in the trade union movement, even when those figures are elected officials. As the edition for 24 July shows, however – coincidentally the same day I had decided to give my notice – those Nasty Tories cannot expect such discretion. Feminist principles are a weapon with which to attack the right, but not an end in itself for the left.

I’ve written this because I was told that “the public has no right to know.” I think the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union’s members do have a right to know about their leaders’ decision not to hold a formal investigation into reports of violence against a female member, and I think the Morning Star’s readers and supporters also have a right to know that the paper’s senior staff have an explicit policy of suppressing such allegations.

It is quite possible that the Morning Star’s management committee – a panel which includes the National Assembly of Women’s Anita Wright – have not been told anything about this. If so, I hope that they will investigate and reassert the paper’s editorial independence. I am not trying to wreck the Morning Star here. I am insisting that it commits to its feminist principles and treats readers with the respect they deserve.

Rory MacKinnon
Morning Star reporter (2011-2014)
mackinnon.rorySPLATgmail.com
@RoryMacKinnon

UPDATE – This post was drafted on Saturday 26 July, the day after informing the Morning Star’s management of my intent to quit. On Monday 28, the paper announced company secretary Tony Briscoe’s retirement and editor Richard Bagley’s departure “for family reasons”. Bagley would continue to work for the paper, the report added.

__

ETA: The survivor has clarified some of the sequence of events. Caroline says:

“There’s a mistake here, the executive refused me to appeal, after that the only route was the agm, which is the quashed one, as i realised all my documents, statements etc had been distributed to hundreds of people without my knowledge”

ETA 2 (19.14 08/08/14): The MS have issued a statement denying everything. To borrow their phrasing, it is interesting to note they haven’t started issuing libel threats…

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Bob Crow is dead

March 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm (Jim D, RIP, RMT, stalinism, transport, unions, workers)

RMT general secretary Bob Crow

Shocking news that still hasn’t quite sunk in. The general secretary of the RMT, and probably Britain’s most militant trade union leader, Bob Crow, has died aged just 52. Regular readers will know that some of us at Shiraz have had our criticisms of him (and the RMT regime he presided over) in the past, and it would be hypocritical of us to pretend otherwise now. But we never doubted his commitment to our class and to basic trade union principles.

An RMT comrade writes:

“He was at RMT Women’s Conference on Friday, getting an argument from some of us about women’s under-representation in the union!
 
“I’m sure I will write something balanced and considered in due course, but for the moment, this is just a terrible shock. Whatever arguments and criticisms we’ve had, Bob was one of the best union leaders in the country, if not the best. His vilification by the right-wing media is testament to that.”

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Support migrant workers in Qatar

October 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm (class, Human rights, internationalism, Jim D, Middle East, RMT, Slavery, solidarity, unions, workers)

Adapted from the London RMT’s website London Calling:

Help end slavery now
Help end slavery now
 

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow and London Transport Region Executive Council member Janine Booth have signed a letter expressing solidarity with Nepali and other migrant workers in Qatar.  Other signatories so far include NUT General Secretary Christine Blower. London RMT invites others  to put their name to the letter. If you wish to do so, post a comment with your (real) name and union/position (if any) below the line here or contact:  shreya.paudel2010@gmail.com

The letter
We are writing to express our solidarity with Nepali and other migrant workers in Qatar.

As the Guardian has extensively documented, Qatar is severely abusing the rights of its overwhelmingly migrant workforce, in many cases literally working people to death. Abuses of Nepali and other migrant workers in Qatar include the use of forced labour, not paying workers for months, confiscating passports and refusing to issue ID cards, refusing to allow people to go home, putting workers ten or more to a filthy room with few or no facilities, providing grossly inadequate food and even denying free water in the desert heat. It is no wonder that hundreds have already died.

The Anti-Slavery International campaign has rightly said that these things “go beyond forced labour to slavery”.

Labour movement, student movement and Nepali community activists will be protesting outside the Qatari embassy in London on Saturday 12 October. We demand an end to these abuses and for Nepali and international trade unions to be allowed into Qatar to verify changes and inform workers of their rights.

  • Read more about the horific exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar in this Guardian article and Nick Cohen’s powerful pieces in the Observer here and here.

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Left Unity and back-to-front politics

June 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm (elections, ex-SWP, fantasy, labour party, left, political groups, RMT, socialism, Socialist Party)

Left Unity

Comrade DK writes:

Ted:  Shouldn’t we wait until Eddie Van Halen joins the band before shooting the video?
Bill:  This video will make Eddie Van Halen want to join the band
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There is an article (linked below) on the Left Unity website which sums up much of the back to front politics and fantasy that increasingly dominates it http://leftunity.org/24746/
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The author asks whether the mass working class party should be formed by fusing with TUSC or can only be built separately at first and then TUSC and the RMT will join later.
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There seems no doubt in the author’s mind that a mass party can be achieved. But then again if his definition of mass party doing well is a limited relationship with one medium sized union and getting 3-5% of the vote in the places it stands then it probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
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The labour movement already has a 6 million trade unionists, the Labour Party has about 200,000 members and gets the vote of between 8 to 9 million voters at its lowest ebb. Surely the question the left needs to ask is what needs to be done to win over these masses to class struggle and the fight for working class power? Organisational questions flow from this. There is a debate to be had about how socialists use elections, how we achieve workers’ representation and the need for left unity.  But that debate is not being had by many members of Left Unity which presupposes the working class will flock to a tiny broad left party if they build it.
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Dream on, comrades.

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Labour: just let the Tories swivel

May 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm (AWL, David Cameron, democracy, Europe, Jim D, labour party, RMT, strange situations, Tory scum, UKIP)

We’ve argued many times here at Shiraz, that the mainstream hard-left’s traditional hostility to the EU (and its predecessors) has been ignorant, short-sighted and counter-productive. It is based upon a fundamental misconception: that British workers’ difficulties stem from Brussels rather than from capitalism itself, and that getting out of the EU would somehow, magically, remove – or, even, lessen- capitalist exploitation.

The present issue of Solidarity (paper of the AWL, the one far-left group with a consistent record of talking sense on this question), lambasts the attempts of idiots like Bob Crow, to delude our movement into imagining that there is a “left-wing” case for agitating against EU membership:

“Britain already has harsher anti-union laws and weaker social provision in most areas than the main EU states. It has resisted the Social Charter, the Working Time Directive, and the Agency Workers’ Directive. Given free rein, British governments would reverse their limited implementation of those EU provisions, and scrap other limited measures of worker protection such as TUPE.

“In the meantime, the workers’ movement would have been weakened by the nationalist demagogy accompanying EU exit – the nonsensical claims that British workers’ difficulties are due not to our capitalist bosses but to this or that official in Brussels – the replacement of worker-versus-boss agitation by Britain-versus-Brussels.

“Crow claims to set out a ‘left-wing, pro-worker case’. But when Crow, with the Socialist Party, ran a ‘No2EU’ slate in the 2009 euro-election, that slate denounced ‘the so-called freedom of movement of labour’ in the EU – in fact, the real, and welcome, freedom for workers in the EU to work and live where they wish.

“Another phrase it used to denounce EU migrant workers was ‘the social dumping of exploited foreign workers in Britain’. It was only a phraseological variant of the right-wing Ukip’s rants against Bulgarian and Rumanian workers”… (read the full article here).

But now the argument within the labour movement and Labour Party isn’t only about principles (crucial as they are): it’s also about tactics and pragmatism. With the Tories tearing themselves apart over Europe, Cameron aides denouncing the grassroots as “swivel-eyed loons” and Geoffrey Howe saying the Europe debate has reduced the party to “a new, almost farcical, low”, Miliband and Labour would have to be mad to come to the aid of the Tories by endorsing the call for a referendum on Europe.

Chris Riddell 19 May 2013

Miliband would be well advised to say little on the subject, and watch the Tories self-destruct.

The EU, despite the unrelenting propaganda of the right wing press, is by no means as unpopular as the Tory-Ukip hard-right likes to make out. And even amongst those voters who express hostility to it, the EU ranks about 10th in their list of priorities.

So leave the swivel-eyed Tory-Ukip fanatics to it, Ed, and concentrate on jobs, housing and economic growth.

As for the fake-“democratic” argument (as touted by the Tory right, Ukip and -on the “left”- the likes of Crow and Seumas Milne) for a referendum: what’s wrong with offering all those who want to get out of Europe a real democratic choice: to vote for Ukip or the Tories at the next general election?

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Steve Hedley issues statement

March 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm (Free Speech, RMT, strange situations, tragedy)

As we published the allegation against him, we’re now publishing his response (having been exonerated by an RMT internal investigation), in the interests of fairness and balance:

It is with great sadness that I have to release this statement to clear my name and to protect my family and friends who have been subject to  verbal assault cyber assault and even  threatened with physical violence. I also truly hope that it will give men who are suffering violence and abuse in relationships some encouragement to come forward and report their abusers. I have already been contacted by a number of men in the trade union movement who have suffered domestic violence but who were afraid to make a public statement out of a misconceived shame and embarrassment about being abused. Up until this point I have not commented upon the allegation that I assaulted Caroline Leneghan as I did not wish to add to Ms Leneghan’ s  mental health problems and an  RMT internal investigation was ongoing . I feel that now I need to comment as my family are being seriously effected by the unfounded allegations which have been spread on the Internet by people who are not in possession of the facts.

Ms Leneghan made a complaint to the police more than a year after the alleged event(which she claims took place in January 2012), Firstly she said she had no photographic evidence of the alleged “assault” saying that it had been deleted and only laterproduced some very dubious and undated pictures more than a yearafter the event claiming to show her injuries.  The police questioned me investigated the allegation thoroughly, had the case reviewed by a senior officer and took No Further Action. Ms Leneghan also made a complaint to my employer the RMT trade union which has carried out an exhaustive investigation and found that I had “no case to answer”. During both investigations I provided hundreds of texts and emails that showed that Caroline Leneghan had been abusive to and assaulted me on several occasions. During the 18 months I spent with Ms Leneghan I was slapped, deprived of sleep, punched, pinched, scratched, elbowed in the ribs, kneed, had shoes ,belts and other objects thrown at me, had paint rubbed in my face and was kicked in the stomach about a week after I had an operation for a hernia. I stayed with Ms Leneghan  because she was attending therapy twice a week in an attempt to control her violent outbursts, she  suffers from a condition known as Borderline, Personality Disorder and has a history of violence ,severe self harm and attempted suicide. On the day she alleges the assault took place I was assaulted by her and whilst trying to take a screwdriver away from her(on previous occasions I had to take razor blades and knives away from her and call ambulances to treat her from self inflicted  razor cuts on her arms legs and stomach)   we both fell to the floor, Ms Leneghan landed face down and I landed on top of her. Ms Leneghan then went to her room and appeared the next day with bruising on her face. Ms Leneghan accepted that this was an accident and explained to several people at the time what had happed(several people made statements to the police to this effect). The assault allegations only arose over a year later when I finished my relationship with Ms Leneghan after being kicked in the stomach by her whilst on holiday  just a week after I had a stomach operation for a hernia. When I broke off the relationship with Ms leneghan she pretended to be pregnant and threatened to have an abortion unless I had her back ,she even threatened to commit suicide which led me to spend several hours at her address on 1 January 2013 trying to calm her down. (this is all confirmed in the emails I gave the police and my employers). Ms Leneghan then hacked my facebook account on 21 January 2013 and discovered that I was going out with someone else, she made several abusive phone calls to me and sent very abusive and threatening texts and emails to me and my girlfriend  and threatened  me  by text that “you are going down Steve”(which I did not reply to on solicitors advice but provided the evidence to the police and the RMT investigations). Ms Leneghan then went to the police and my employers as I have described. Having spoken to Mankind an organization that deals with domestic violence against men I was informed that abusive women often continue to abuse their victims when a relationship is finished by making false allegations to the police. I hope now that the investigations are complete and I have been cleared of any wrong doing that I can draw a line under this and move on with my life . I hope that  Ms Leneghan can also move on  continue with her treatment for her illness and find happiness uninfluenced by those who wish to make politically motivated attacks on me and my trade union.

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“I’m Caroline Leneghan”: the RMT and domestic violence

March 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm (anti-semitism, hell, Human rights, left, misogyny, RMT, sexism, Socialist Party, thuggery, unions, women, workers)

Above: Hedley verbally attacks a Jew who dared challenge him; another chosen victim, close to his lumpen heart…

Utterly appalling:

Today (8 Mar 2013 -SS) I would like to show my solidarity with women all over the world on International Women’s day and to raise the issue of domestic violence against women. The RMT have released a model domestic violence policy for the transport industry which I hope gets rolled out to every employer.

I’m Caroline Leneghan, I’m a member of the RMT and assistant Branch Secretary of my RMT branch. Until recently I was in a relationship with the RMT Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley. During the relationship I experienced physical and mental domestic violence which made me feel hopeless to challenge. In January I reported a violent assault to the police that took place the previous year. On this occasion he kicked a pot of paint at me, threw me around by my hair and pinned me to the floor repeatedly punching me in the face. The extent of my injuries meant I couldn’t go out for weeks. I had severe bruising and swelling to my face and body and he had pulled out clumps of my hair.  I have decided to make a public statement about this because of his public position in the union and because I want to encourage other women to come forward who have faced similar abuse.

Additionally, as I am a member of the RMT I felt that it was important to raise my assault with the RMT. I believe that he will continue to perpetrate abuse and is a threat to female members. I want to continue my activism within the union but I do not feel safe to do so unless this matter is dealt with properly.

When I raised the assault with the union, I was subjected to what is known as as ‘victim blaming’. I was distressed and astonished at the questions I was asked and the investigating officer displayed a total lack of respect and sensitivity, and a lack of understanding of domestic violence. The investigator tried to make a link between my mental health and the assault and deemed it appropriate to inquire about my personal history, but has not deemed it necessary to look into Steve’s, despite the fact that it is his behaviour that is being called into question and not mine. The investigatior attempted to focus his attention on anything about me which could exonerate or mitigate Steve’s behaviour.

I was also shocked that the investigator asked to explain how someone of Steve Hedley’s build and proficient at boxing did not cause me more injuries. The investigator also accused me of causing the injuries myself. It is outrageous that when a woman reports an assault it would be considered feasible that she severely beat up her own face and further to also attempt to make a link with her mental health is collusion with the tactics of manipulation that abusers use to silence their victims. I felt degraded and that I had done something ‘wrong’ in reporting the attack.

These actions contribute to a culture where perpetrators of violence are never punished for their behaviour. It is a well known fact that women do not come forward when they have faced abuse because they fear the treatment they will get. Since receiving help from Victim Support I have learnt that it is common for perpetrators of domestic abuse to deflect blame for their actions onto their victims and attempting to discredit their claims and to shame them into remaining silent.

I think it is important to say that I am a proud member of the RMT because I thought it was committed to fighting for justice and equality for all workers. I had hoped that it would take seriously a claim against a senior elected representative and treat me with respect when I have made such a serious allegation. I am shocked and saddened that instead I have had to undergo a character assassination. No aspect of my life has been spared from scrutiny, using any detail, no matter how sensitive, used in a horrible and insensitive manner to undermine my claim.

I am writing this because I feel it is imperative that all organisations on the left take a look at themselves and question whether they are doing all they can to support their female members and fight sexism and abuse, in all its guises. I believe that we need strong unions and organisations like the RMT to fight all forms of inequality in society. It cannot do this if it allows sexism to go unchallenged and it fails to investigate its elective representatives seriously.

Women do not have equality in the labour movement or the left. This is a struggle and a fight that goes on everyday at work/ in our unions/ at home/ in meetings, etc. To women; we are what militant trade unionists look like. The labour movement continues to heroises a macho, aggressive archetype of what a good trade unionist looks like. Recently highlighted problems on the left (e.g. the SWP rape case handling) have demonstrated the need for radical change. A support group made up of women from the left and labour movement to support women and challenging abuse and sexism should be set up.

In the past week my case against him was dropped by the police due to falling foul of their timescale for submitting a complaint. Steve has made an official statement to the RMT that the case was dropped and he was found innocent and exonerated. This is completely untrue. The investigating officer said the CPS would not prosecute because the incident had not happened in the past 6 months. Furthermore, I have been told that, had I reported it within 6 months, they would have had enough evidence to charge him with common assault. But due to the lapse in time, they instead had to arrest him on suspicion of ABH. However, the CPS sets a very high bar for chances of conviction (I was informed that they will only bring forward to trial cases that they believe have a 90 per cent chance of conviction).

Please note: *trigger warning*. I’ve included these photos because I feel I need to show people how ludicrous his story that I beat myself up is.

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If you would like to contact me please email  leneghancaroline@gmail.com

(NB: Shiraz Socialist has had cause to comment upon Mr Hedley before: here; this creature must be removed from all positions within the labour movement, forthwith).

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