Union’s leadership race descends further into chaos

Leading Ucatt campaigner Mick Dooley has won an unfair dismissal appeal against the union, just days after he was barred from the organisation’s leadership race.

Croydon Employment Tribunal ruled yesterday that Dooley was unfairly dismissed from his position as regional officer of the union in January.

The judgment comes eleven days after Ucatt barred Dooley from running in this month’s leadership election, citing his January dismissal and his performance in an interview with the union’s selection committee last month as reasons.

Dooley is currently seeking a High Court injunction to prevent the ballot running without his name on it this Friday.

He told Building: “I’m going to do everything I can to challenge this ballot. The injunction is made up – I’m just trying to get the finances together.

“If that fails I’ll go to the Certification Office [the trade unions’ watchdog].”

Dooley successfully overturned the union’s previous leadership election after referring it to the Certification Office (CO).

The CO declared in April that the 2009 election was void after finding ballot papers were sent to less than half of the union’s claimed 130,000 members, forcing general secretary Alan Ritchie to resign.

Ritchie – who beat Dooley in the 2009 race – also intended to re-run in this week’s ballot, but was also barred from running by last month.

Ucatt refused to comment on the reasons for Ritchie’s ban but in September, Building revealed Ritchie had been suspended from Ucatt amid an ongoing investigation into expenses during his time as general secretary of the union.

Last week the CO told Building this week’s ballot could be invalidated if it is called in to investigate and finds the decisions to bar Dooley and Ritchie broke the union’s rules.

If the bans stand, the leadership election will be between Yorkshire regional secretary Steve Murphy and London regional secretary Jerry Swain.

Ballot papers are still due be distributed to the union’s members on Friday.

In its judgement Croydon Employment Tribunal found in favour of Dooley, but added he “contributed to his unfair dismissal to the extent of 50%.”

Ucatt was unavailable for comment.