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Arbitration update

Following the Trust's AGM in June 2007, an official complaint was made to the WST board by five members of the Trust. The complaint raised a series of specific issues relating to the AGM. Under normal circumstances the first place that a complaint would be heard is by the board itself. Obviously with the board including several of the instigators of the complaint and several of those who were being complained about, this was not the right way forward. To ensure that the complaint was progressed in a manner that was demonstrably fair to all parties involved, the Trust Secretary immediately took advice from Supporters Direct.

In accordance with the WST constitution (rule 121), the complaint was referred to the Chief Executive of the Co-operative Union who nominated an independent arbitrator to resolve the dispute, subject to acceptance by both parties. Both parties have now duly confirmed this acceptance. The WST board welcomes the opportunity to move forwards and will co-operate fully with the arbitration process. We will provide every assistance to the arbitrator to ensure that he can deal with the complaint in a comprehensive and professional manner. This will include any documentary evidence that is required, and contrary to recent allegations made by the complainants we would like to make it absolutely clear that no documentation relating to the AGM has been destroyed.

It is the Board's policy to refrain from responding directly to public message board postings, however inaccurate or inflammatory these may be. We would ask everyone involved to do likewise and to allow the arbitrator to examine both sides of the complaint in full and to provide his findings before speculating further on the outcome.

We are firmly of the view that the Board has acted in good faith and in the organisation's best interests at all times, and we look forward to concentrating again on making progress against our objectives and continuing the good work of the Trust on behalf of our members.

The Secretary

WST

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