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RCN election: Candidate calls on watchdog to investigate

RCN headquarters


A candidate in the suspended RCN presidential race has asked the Government’s trade union watchdog to investigate the process and transparency of the election.

Julie Green, district nursing professor at Keele University and RCN president candidate, announced on Twitter she had ‘raised a complaint’ with the Government’s trade union certification officer (TUCO) – which regulates trade unions – ‘as a result of disqualifications, resignations and accusations’ and to investigate the election.

In the tweet posted last Wednesday, she e continued: ‘As an RCN Presidential candidate, I’m deeply saddened by this election… I have now raised a complaint to the TUCO, to investigate this process and ensure transparency, so that whoever is elected is without criticism.’

The TUCO is a government official who maintains a list of trade unions and employers’ associations, and has certain powers to enforce the rules of a trade union, including during elections.

It was confirmed to Nursing in Practice that Ms Green submitted a complaint to the current TUCO, Sarah Bedwell. It is now being considered whether to reject or accept the complaint, which depends on whether Mrs Bedwell has the statutory remit to investigate it.

The RCN has been mired in controversy since it disqualified two candidates from its presidential election earlier this month, following complaints that they had breached rules around using RCN resources during campaigning.

RCN council chair Dee Sissons and council vice chair Richard Jones both resigned last month, as nurses came out in support of the disqualified candidates and questioned whether they had done anything wrong.

An RCN spokesperson told Nursing in Practice: ‘The presidential election is governed by the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, and it is the Trade Union Certification Officer who is responsible for determining complaints concerning trade union elections.

‘A complaint can be brought by a person who has sufficient interest in the election, so if a candidate has a complaint about the election this is the right action to take to have it addressed.’