Responding to the piece broadcast by Sky News in relation to the Birmingham hotel, conference and education facility built for Unite the union, the union said:
“Unfortunately, Sky News has let itself and it viewers down by producing and broadcasting a deeply misleading report on our new conference hotel and education facility in Birmingham.
“The report is inaccurate from the outset. The roots of the story are not in Liverpool but lie firmly within the union’s democratic decision-making body, our Executive Council, which gave the go-ahead to embark on this wonderful facility for our members nearly a decade ago in 2012.
“The insinuation that Unite is somehow caught up in an entirely unrelated series of events in Liverpool is nothing other than a shallow attack on our union, but is also an insult to all those who worked on this world-class facility, as well as to the great people and city of Liverpool who are too often demonised by our lazy media.
“It seems that Sky News prefers guilt by association over the facts.
“The truth of the matter is that this is old news, reheated with not a single new fact in order to attack our union, using underhand tactics, innuendo and persons hostile to our union. This is not journalism of which Sky can be proud.
“Every step of the way, the production of this complex was overseen by independent surveyors and architects. Accountability was built into the process to ensure that at every stage of this development we got value for this union’s money. All this was overseen by our democratically-elected, independent 62-strong Executive Council. It is insulting in the extreme to infer that their oversight is at fault and should be somehow replaced by another body. This is the body elected by our members to keep this union properly run and accountable, and they do this superbly.
“The result is a tremendous facility for use by working people in this country. It is an incredible asset for our union, valued by an independent auditor at cost price now but recognised as a facility that will only increase in value. It will produce huge amounts of income in revenue for our union, which will be reinvested in services and support for our members, and save the union millions a year alone in conference costs.
” Those in any doubt of the wisdom of this development need only compare it to similar projects in our cities to see for themselves what a sensible investment this development is for our union. This facility is an investment for shop stewards and 1.2 million working people by their union, because we their best interests are our driving force.
“Unite is proud of this amazing facility, and proud to be a union that wants the best for our members. We bow to nobody, and certainly not to a hostile media, in our dedication to delivering the best to our members.”