- The heading says "Look at our laundry" bacause
the marchers are holding a piece of laundry between two poles.
Also, the two parties quoted both benefit from the same system
of donations-on-behalf of members favoured by the union.
Phrases like - washing dirty laundry in public; money
laundering, tax evasion, fraud - might already be in the
mind of any reader. The first couple of definitions of money
laundering that come to hand mention concealing and confusing,
money transfer so that at one end of the chain of transactions
it can look legal and at the other end it can be illegal, so,
sadly, I can't write that "donations on behalf" are
the same as money laundering.
- There's nothing to suggest illegality here. A decentralised
union in which different committees can pay separately for similar
things is bound to be confusing but a lot of it is very honest-looking.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign, frequent recipient of small donations,
only has five paid staff in a dingy office and the pay is £21,000
a year. Other payments are open but obscure. Branch 1/1148 members
pay a central fund, most of which goes to a regional office that
donates-on-behalf-of-members to a list of 22 causes; some goes
to a branch fund that's used to donate-on-behalf to a similar
list and some to a central office that presumably donates-on-behalf
too. Some payments are affiliations to four borough trades councils
which also donate-on-behalf, and affiliate to a London regional
trades council which donates-on-behalf like the South East Regional
TUC. These last two also receive money directly from branch 1/1148
and so it goes-on.
- There's everything to question.
Very large amounts of money end-up in the Labour Party, according
to the Electoral Commission, and the Morning
Star overdraft. Something - possibly just donations from
an activist who has inherited art treasures - finances a proper office and printing press for
a tiny Communist Party of Britain. So money leaves union
accounts by confusing routes and some money also finds itself
in these places from confusing routes. There's also the legal
budget. The Certification Office has decided that it was "not parliaments intention"
to allow union members the right to "conduct an audit"
of legal receipts but there is an odd ratio
of payment to personal injury lawyers (90%) to employment lawyers
(10% with the cost of defending against complaining members)
suggesting that the union is using no-win no-fee lawyers. So
if the lawyers win, where does their cut go, if the union is
paying them large amounts for referring personal injury cases?
Other claims handling agents get paid by lawyers, but concentrate
on personal injury work. This union concentrates on personal
injury work but says it's paying the lawyers.
- What the system suggests is that it needs to be more transparent
and that the idea of "donations-on-behalf" which unites
all the political parties recieving the money needs to end. Meanwhile
it would cost next to nothing for these organisations to post
exact amounts paid and recieved between each other on their web
sites or public accounts, so that anyone can check that money
paid by one is the same as money received by another and none
has got lost along the way.