You may remember back in March that Unite suspended three senior officials without explaining why it had done so. Britain’s biggest union hasn’t exactly been vocal since about what happened to the trio.
The suspension of Kevin Coyne, former north-west officer for the Amicus wing of Unite, was seen as an act of revenge after Coyne stood against Derek Simpson for the leadership of the group. (In the end he came third, behind Simpson and Jerry Hicks).
Coyne has now re-emerged as Unite’s official for the Ministry of Defence. What’s the catch? His family, friends and political allies are mostly up around Manchester. But he has been ordered to work in London.
“There’s no reason for him being in the capital, he’s been moved away from his family and it looks like some sort of punishment,” says one Unite source.
Meanwhile one of Coyne’s allies has likewise been moved across the country; this time from London to Hull. “It might as well be Siberia,” says the source.
As for Richard O’Brien, a Simpson loyalist who was suspended at the same time (at the behest of Tony Woodley, head of the T&G wing of Unite); he is back in action working on broader international co-operation with other unions.