Reinstate Micky: GMB union accused of attempting to persecute rank-and-file shop steward

Cautiously pessimistic

A series of posts from “Red Tyneside” on twitter, reproduced here for reference:

A GMB regional official, Northern’s Billy Coates, is waging a battle against a rank-and-file, fighting shop steward, Micky Hunnam. On what basis? Three years ago someone allegedly failed to provide Micky’s address when certifying him at regional committee. At who’s behest? We don’t know. Is it [John Warcup]? He’s small fry, the branch secretary of the A61 branch and a 16 hpw-contracted Asda worker. Is it [GMB General Secretary Tim Roache]? Who knows? Micky’s campaigning has pissed off many full-time and lay officials close to GMB’s right-wing bureaucracy. Now what?
I understand Micky has sought and begun to receive independent legal advice. I understand how crucial this fight is. I understand what it’s like to be turned on by one’s own union. I understand the indispensable centrality of the membership as the primary driver of our…

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  1. A facebook post by Michael Hunnam #GLINDONGATE Labour party ASDA GMB Union Collusion A whatsapp conversation between myself and Mary Glindon Labour MP for Wallsend and North Tyneside the coversation took place over several days from 10th August 2019 – 19th August 2019 here it is in chronological order tidied up to make it more legible. 10/8/19 Me: I have been reinstated at my ASDA workplace my suspension is over. I am not going back immediately the last 5 weeks have been no picnic & have been difficult for me and my family sitting on tenterhooks not sure of the outcome. So to make sure I am in the correct frame of my mind for my return to work. I have decided to put a holiday in and I will return on Tuesday 20th August. It is no coincidence that I was the last colleague to get served my final 121 yesterday as I was not there for the last 5 weeks to help my members. I am now working my 13 weeks notice.
    10/8/19 The account that I was in correspondence with you about your visit has been mysteriously suspended so I now don’t have any access to a whole wealth of correspondence between you and myself and others. This now feels like an episode of the X files trust no one the conspiracy deepens.
    10/8/19 I can still be contacted on
    11/8/19 So its great news Mary you can now get back in touch and visit the store like you said you would that is if your good for your word which I am sure you are like you said at the time your reason for not visiting came out of solidarity with me a very admirable position to take. Now that I have been reinstated there is nothing stopping you coming I know how sincere you are and that you will be true to your word. So I look forward to seeing you very shortly.
    11/8/19 I have put a complaint in against John Warcup the branch sec of my union branch A61. My reason for this is that he visited my workplace and revealed private and confidential emails between him and myself to my management team at ASDA Benton the reason he did this was is that he hoped it would result in my dismissal. So he now stands accused of colluding with management to try and get one of his GMB reps dismissed a very serious charge. This could see him expelled from the Union I have had to take the advice of a barrister at my own expense over this. But not too worry the Union will have to reimburse when I am proved to be in the right. The barrister says I have a very good case he is an employment law barrister and has experience of dealing with corrupt union officials. So I am quite positive about it. Ian not sure but an official may be invoved as well.This will all come out in the investigation.Thats all for now sorry I couldn’t email this to you but I no longer have your contact details since my GMB email ac ount was shut down.
    13/8/19 Glindon replies: Hi John, glad to hear you are re-instated. Looks like a lot has been going on since we last spoke. I have supported the campaign by writing to ASDA’s CEO and a press release – templates from Sarah Owen at GMB. It looks like the public are more aware of the campaign now and what’s happening to staff. Many local MPs are supporting the campaign too.
    I’ve just started my annual summer holiday till the end of the month, which coincides with my husband starting chemotherapy to treat his cancer. The first session has left him exhausted! I’ll be back at work at the beginning of September so hopefully, we can catch-up after that. my email is:
    I will be taking time off from this weekend from my emails etc … Me 13/8/19 John???????🤔
    19/819 00.12 Too little too late Mary. This would have given your career the lift it needed. I gave you the opportunity to be at the forefront of this campaign you chose not to enough said. Good Bye, you’ve been a big let down you can’t even get my name right
    Glindon half an hour later after typing for half an hour who to? not me 19/8/19 00.44 I apologise for getting your name mixed-up, Michael. I can assure you that, I’m not a careerist and I certainly don’t need any kind of ‘lift’. I’m an elected public servant and my specific interest in this issue is the unfairness of Contract 6 for workers at ASDA. I’ve now had a response to my letter from the CEO and will continue to support the campaign with GMB, via Sarah Owen. I certainly haven’t let anyone down. My husband is very poorly and I’m entitled to take these two weeks annual leave to be with him. I wish you luck in getting a satisfactory result in your dispute with the union and hope it’s resolved as soon as possible. Best wishes, Mary Me 19/819 00.59 How do you know about my dispute with the Union? I have not mentioned that to you. This is all very odd cloak and dagger stuff. I don’t trust anyone at the moment.
    Glindon 19/8/19 6 mins later: I only know about it as, you may recall, you told me about it in your previous message of 11th August, and you said you had engaged a barrister. I wish you a good and peaceful night. Mary
    Me 19/8/19 01.08 That was not what you were referring it is not my problem it is John Warcup’s. I know that too well the lot of yous are in collusion. You also know too well that there have been massive developments since then and I would advise you to keep well out of it as this is going to be big and it is going to go right to the top of the Labour Party the election result may depend on it. There are some very important people waiting in the wings watching this with great interest no doubt heads are going to roll and it’s not going to be mine as I have been on the side of righteousness since the very beginning. Give it some thought what I have outlined here you need to be on the right side in all this. I bid you Goodnight and God bless.
    Glindon 19/8/19 10.49 It’s exactly what I’m referring to ie your message of 11th August! I’m not colluding with anyone nor would I want to. You gave me the information about what was happening between you and the GMB I didn’t ask for it. I understand it must be stressful for you, and genuinely wished you all the best based exactly on what you said. Please don’t twist my words. Best wishes, Mary Me 19/8/19 11.41 So you have not been in secret meetings with Micky Hopper and John Warcup? The very people who colluded with ASDA Benton management team would not allow me to travel on the free coach for the Leeds demonstration which I did attend all be it on the train at considerable expense to myself. Now they are acting along with Billy Ciates to remove my workplace stewardship and you say you know nothing about this? Did you read the twitter thread by William?
    Glindon 19/8/19 14.16 I have not had any secret meetings! I don’t know Billy Coates very well either. My main contact with GMB has always been Chris Jukes, since Tommy Brennan retired. Sarah Owen is helping with the ASDA campaign, which will be featuring in my News Guardian column. I’m sorry but I’m not a great fan of Twitter. I think I know William and I’m not a fan of the Socialist Worker Party. I’m sorry to hear that you had to make your own way to the Leeds demonstration. I can only reiterate that I only know about your specific issue with GMB because of what you yourself told me. Best wishes, Mary
    Me: 19/8/19 14.46 So are you saying you have not held any meetings with John Warcup or Micky Hopper. William is no fan of the Socialist Workers Party as he is in the Socialist Party a party that your colleague Ian Mearnes was a member of & Ged Greeby the president & founder of Show Racism the Red card is still a member of. Laura Piddock’s partner Daniel Kebede is a member of the Socialist Workers Party & also a member of the Labour party. I believe they call this entryism. So can you reiterate you have had no meetings with the 2 GMB officials John Warcup & Mick Hopper who under the direct orders of GMB Regional Northern Secretary Billy Coates colluded with Benton management team in the hope of securing my dismissal?
    Glindon 19/8/19 15.31 I don’t care whose in the Socialist Workers Party or Socialist Party – there all the same to me. Please be assured that I’ve not taken part in any meetings with union officials, colluding with your employer in the hope of securing your dismal and I certainly wouldn’t be involved in any such meetings in future, it’s not my business. There is nothing more for me to say on the matter, as it’s only between you, your barrister and the GMB. My only involvement will continue to be in campaigning against the imposition of Contract 6. Best wishes, Mary. Me: 19/8/19 15.36 I have evidence to prove that you have met John Warcup and Micky Hopper and discussed the ASDA dispute with them and no doubt my name would have come up in them said meetings are you stating publicly that you did not attend any meetings with those two?
    Glindon 19/8/19 15.53 I can’t believe you are challenging my word when I’ve answered your questions! I can’t understand why you trying to involve me in something that’s got nothing to do with me and I won’t be drawn into your case with the GMB. Again, I’ll wish you all the best, but that’s all there is to say.
    Me 19/8/19 16.07 I will give you the opportunity to answer my question another time. While I was suspended from my ASDA workplace did you or did you not hold meetings with John Warcup and Micky Hopper. Simple question either yes or no.
    Glindon 19/8/19 16.13 You are harassing me, Michael. Please understand, what I’ve told you repeatedly, I’ve not had any meetings about you or your suspension with the GMB
    Me 19/8/19 17.04 You still have not answered my question did you or did you not attend meetings or a meeting with John Warcup and Micky Hopper during the period I was suspended from ASDA I am not harassing you a simple yes or no answer that is all it will take. Glindon 19/8/19 17.09 This is harassment, as I answered your question in my last message! I won’t repeat myself and there’s no more to add.
    Me 19/8/19 17.13 Again have you had a meeting or meetings with John Warcup and Micky Hopper not harassment just a simple yes or no. Glindon 19/8/19 17.17 I’m sorry but I have to ignore your persistence, as I’ve answered you already. I won’t respond further.
    Me 19/8/19 17.43 OK so your not going to answer my simple question whether you had a meeting or meetings with John Warcup and Micky Hopper and I have already told you I evidence that you did.
    Glindon 19/8/19 18.02 I said that I wouldn’t respond further but I see you’re trying to change your original question! So, once again, I categorically state that I haven’t been in any meeting to do with you, so you are wrong to state otherwise. You are harassing me for some reason and I won’t be part of any game your playing, I have neither the time or inclination to be involved. Your concern seems to be with your personal relationship with the union rather than the plight of your colleagues being forced to sign-up to contract 6. Me 19/8/19 18.38 That was not my question answer it I will ask you again Did you at any time during my suspension meet up with Micky Hopper and John Warcup? If you don’t want to answer it fair enough but don’t reply to me accusing me of harassing you or questioning my commitments to the members in my store at Benton. I was the last colleague to have the final 121 at Benton most signed because their best rep was not there to advise them. I was suspended for 5 weeks while management bullied colleagues into signing.I did not sign and I am currently working my 12 weeks notice which ends on 2nd November. My personal relationship with the union and the plight of the colleagues at Benton are massively interlinked if you cannot see that I am dismayed at you. Don’t forget it was your choice to get involved in this I did not twist your arm up your back. Glindon then proceeds to block me on Whatsapp. Just as a footnote I need to make a correction I have been reliably informed that Daniel Kebede is not a member of the SWP and that the SWP does not practice entryism. Everything else is correct though just a minor factual error.


  2. A facebook post by William Salim George Jarret aka red Tyneside Now that he’s gone public I can discuss events concerning Michael Hunnam. I met Micky in 2014 while campaigning for TUSC. In the years that followed we developed a deep and trusting friendship. We’ve tested that friendship in the past several months more than ever before as we relied on one another to counsel ideas and tactics concerning Micky’s position at Asda and the GMB.

    What Micky’s been subjected to is akin to a gang beating being metted out by two groups. Michael has been a GMB shop steward for over three years in good standing and an Asda worker for over eight, all with an unblemished record. He’s popular among colleagues and the community his store serves. The announcement of imposition of contract 6 by the employer and the subsequent paper tiger campaign rolled out by platinum-plated GMB general secretary, disgraceful Tim Roache, has changed the lives of Michael and thousands of low-paid and precarious retail workers.

    Michael was among the first to challenge the bureaucratic wisdom that this wasn’t a dispute worth fighting for, organizing digital and workplace resistance to the union’s blatant indifference and cheap, placating stunts. Staff turned to him increasingly because they knew he was trustworthy and impervious to decrees from regional officers who’re closer to bosses than the members.

    In the months since April I’ve been astounded at the surreal events, twists, turns, and contortions of Michael’s battle. If there’s a Jake Lamotta of trade unionism then I think it’s Mickey. No matter how many blows are reigned down on him, he doesn’t go down whether win, lose, or draw.

    It’s been my honour and privilege to support Michael and to travel through this experience with him. To meet, discuss, analyze, and advise details has been a labour of love for a comrade and friend who’s been pushed to the brink and unbelievably durable under heavy fire.

    The toll taken on Michael and his family has been awful. GMB has exacted a heavy price on this fighter and those who love him, no more so than today when Asda sacked him at the behest of Michael’s own branch secretary, a fink called John Warcup, who no doubt acted on instructions passed from regional secretary Billy Coates, another dog, transmitted by even more senior officials.

    I want every trade unionists in North East England and across Britain to know what’s happened to Michael. In an era when we’re learning the darkest secrets of the deep state and the worst of trade unionism’s internal enemies, a broad daylight, modern day industrial crime has been committed against my friend.

    The energy, focus, and determination Michael possesses is what’s ensured he was able to carry on this long where as many others may have shattered. Michael made mistakes. We all do. What’s paramount now is that the entire trade union family reaches out its arms wide to this indefatigable warrior of ours.

    In the weeks and months to come these events may be revealed more broadly. Our movement must know what’s happened, the implications of it for us all, and the true and revealed nature of the frauds in senior GMB leadership. Workers have been sacrificed to the employer and their representative thrown to the wolves. Even the police are involved. That’s the most solid indication I can give you of just how nefarious these people are.

    Full solidarity with Michael and his family. Full solidarity with GMB members. Full solidarity with Asda workers as Tim Roache walks them in to industrial oblivion while posturing himself as a radical. We don’t give in. We fight where we stand, come what may.


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