Thanks for your long reply, which I confess I have only had time to skim through at the moment. Just two points, I have removed the MSF logo as far as I know, maybe you are not looking at today’s site? Also I’m not sure you have read the detail on the site either, the expense claims appear to me to be compulsive to the point of a psychological flaw . The total cost of trying to cover it up must exceed £658,000 by my reckoning. And I am being ‘ethically dubious’? ‘Slosh money about a bit’...?? I love that quote and may use it if you don’t mind….
It is clear to everyone that at some point Roger will have to resign, why drag the union through the mud behind him for so long? You are jeopardising your prospects of getting the merger through.
I wonder what you hope to achieve by this? All of us who work for MSF have
been watching with increasing irritation the various items of publicity that
have appeared in the newspapers in recent weeks, and have found it all to be
a massive distraction from the work we know to be essential - protecting and
advancing the interests of MSF members who pay our salaries.
Most people who work for MSF like me, work bloody hard for a union we know
to be second to none. While we are not naive enough to believe that mistakes
never take place, or that individual cases involving members of staff are
never mis-handled, we all share in a sense of deep regret that such
relatively rare happenings should be trailed across the media in this way
and then used as a source of amusement or entertainment by some people who
are misguided enough to think that the union is a huge muddy football pitch
onto which we can all pile in and kick Roger in whatever direction we
I have not been asked to write this letter, nor do I have any ulterior
motive in sending it. (Frankly, I do not really care that much what Roger
himself thinks about it, though I will send him a copy for information.) Nor
(I hope) am I the kind of person who sees the world in simple black and
white terms, as I hope you will gather from what I have said so far. In this
context I would offer you, with respect, the following additional
Roger was elected as the General Secretary by the members of this union. If
he has made mistakes he has at least admitted them, and he has committed the
better part of his working life, as have I, to working for a cause that has
included fair treatment of members like you Dave.
In my view there is no possible justification for this pillorying of him,
and the general morale sapping sniping that you are now engaged in. Most
people here find it pretty petty, and frankly belittling, of all the good
work we do on a daily basis. We know our members are concerned with more
important things, and we would like you to be aware of that.
As the person in MSF who has been largely responsible for the campaigning
work MSF has done in the field of bullying, I find it nauseating that
members should choose to bully the General Secretary in this way. As I have
already said, I am not for one moment saying that mistakes have not been
made, or that MSF has always been the perfect employer, but I can speak with
some authority when I say that I have yet to meet the perfect employer. Most
of us who work for MSF know that we work for an organisation that at least
tries to get it right.
The sarcastic comment on your web site with the phoney logo statement about
MSF being the bullying union, is offensive to me personally as well as the
union as a whole. I would very much appreciate it if you could remove this
particular piece of damaging and undermining sarcasm.
The “fiddler on the roof” image of your web site I also found particularly
offensive. I have spent most of my working life opposing racism and
anti-Semitism. You say that this was not intended. Most people I have spoken
to find this unbelievable, and if it was a genuine faux pas I wonder if you
have thought to offer an apology? If I found it alarming (and I am not
Jewish) did it occur to you that Roger almost certainly found it hurtful?
Why do you defend such mistakes (if such they are) in yourself when you are
so unforgiving when you find mistakes in others?
I became a member of ASTMS back in 1970 (I suspect for much the same reasons
as you) and at that time Clive Jenkins was the General Secretary. I don’t
doubt that part of my contributions way back then went on entertainment and
all the rest of it, but frankly this has never bothered me.
What I have subsequently learned is that bosses in most organisations slosh
money about a bit in order to achieve the aims of the organisation, which in
the grand scheme of things are a lot more important than the kind of bean
counting your campaign seems to be setting out to achieve.
If Clive had been the kind of person to make do with a British Rail
sandwich, many of us would probably never have joined, and we would probably
not have had the chance to argue about our job security, performance related
pay, salary levels, or employment conditions. And if we had not done so,
your conditions today would probably have been that much worse.
As a member, you are of course entitled to write to me at any time and I
will do my best to answer your queries, but I do think that this kind of
spam mail to staff is a bad idea, is ethically dubious (in terms of accepted
e-mail practice) and makes people feel you are attempting to compromise
them. Can I suggest you don’t do it any more?
A memo concerning the web site www.rogerlyons.com
<http://www.rogerlyons.com> is being sent in a following email, would all
MSF staff please read it.