Three members of staff have now left the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS), which was founded by Unite and the GMB, as a result of their treatment in the workplace.
In a possible conflict of interest, the two unions which fund and help manage the organisation are also involved in representing staff in disputes against their employer.
Since last summer, the think tank’s union representative has met several times with staff, who were “more often than not in tears,” according to the convenor. The staff “felt under attack,” and it’s understood that all have now left their roles.
In emails leaked to The Red Roar, the union rep wrote that one staff member visited them on one occasion “sobbing uncontrollably and shaking.” They continued, “to date I have never seen anyone within the workplace in such an emotionally wrecked state as [employee’s name] was yesterday.”
It is understood that Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB, and Andrew Murray, Chief of Staff at Unite – who are both on the CLASS management committee – were made aware of the allegations last year.
The GMB rep involved wrote in an email that they would normally advise employees who had experienced such levels of bullying to resign and take CLASS to an employment tribunal for constructive dismissal. However, they were reluctant to advise this because “of the damage this might do to my employer [CLASS] and my union.”
In reply, Roache wrote, “It is far from ideal that a story may come out about the organisation CLASS and its employees given as you say that CLASS is largely funded by trade unions, primarily, Unite and GMB.”