All members have the right to expect a quality service from their union, within the rules and the guidance laid down by the Executive Council. Where a member feels that the union, its employees or its agents (e.g. solicitors) have not provided such a service, they have the right to complain and to seek a valid explanation of the union’s actions. Valid complaints may also give the union an opportunity to learn and improve its service to members.
Any investigation will be conducted fairly and with no initial presumption of fault on either side.
Members are asked, in the first instance, to seek to resolve their complaints informally, wither with the officer/employee concerned, or with the regional secretary. The officer/employee should have the opportunity to address the complaint. Unite has 10 main regional offices.
Where this procedure fails to reach a resolution, a formal complaint should be submitted.
All complaints should be submitted in writing to the office of the general secretary. The aim is to acknowledge receipt within a week and allocate a senior officer to investigate.
An assessment will be made as to the most appropriate person to investigate that complaint. In respect of officers & staff in the regions, this will normally be the regional secretary but may be a national officer or other official. For head office staff, a decision will be taken in the general secretary’s office. In cases where the complaint is against the regional secretary, another senior officer will be asked to consider the complaint.
Once completed, the investigating officer shall communicate to the member as quickly as possible their decision and the reasons for it. It is hoped that the member will be informed of the decision at most, no more than one month after receipt of the complaint by the investigating officer.
The member may ask for a review of the decision. Any request for a review should be submitted to the general secretary and should specify the grounds on which the member is disputing and appealing against the findings of the investigation.
On receipt of this request for a review, the general secretary shall consider it and shall ask an assistant general secretary or other appropriate officer of senior rank to conduct a review of the case and adjudicate. The decision of the AGS or senior official in this case is final.
Where members complain about advice from our lawyers, or conduct of our lawyers, the union shall use its normal procedures for legal review, which may include the solicitors’ own internal complaints procedure. The decision shall be final.
If you still require further clarification please contact Unite’s member relations officer Owen Granfield.