Monday, 8 March 2010


There was an interesting bit in the News of the World at the weekend that super-union Unite was conducting a campaign in marginals trying to activise union members that may not vote the next election.

But there are a few things that are noticeable to me:

1) Unite is using its own database of members, contacting swing voters on the list who are then asked whether they are likely to vote Labour and what they think the most important issues at the next General Election will be.

That info is then used to send them personally tailored letters, and follow up calls and visits from government Ministers and prospective MPs.

Now forgive me but how does the Data Protection Act apply in all of this?
I'm sure that Unite is doing the correct procedures and asking these members whether they would agree for their data to be used for contact with prospective MPs and the data has not just been sent out without the correct permission aren't you?


2) Unite are likely to spend up to £5m on this campaign according to NoTW.

Where's this money coming from? According to the most recent accounts available (year ending 31 December 2008), Unite has a operating surplus from members of £339,000 and "other income" of £2.4m.

It also has a net worth of £178m.

Is Unite really going to blow most of its surplus? What's the payback for this? Has it mortgaged itself?

And that's without including pension liabilities.

Also I'm sure members would love to know where £5.6m of their money went from the year previously.

And these are guys that have a go at bankers?

Oh and a message to Gordo from his paymasters:

As a consequence of the recession, there are many challenges facing the Union and its members in the years ahead. Our aim is to consolidate our position as the premier campaigning Union, not just in size, but in impact and influence.In doing so, we intend to live within our means and take the necessary steps to streamline the operations of the Union to the benefit of all our members.

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