The management of a major Melbourne hospital has been dragged into the battle for control of the remnants of the disgraced Health Services Union after a Kathy Jackson rival was barred from campaigning on its premises.

On Friday, Craig McGregor, a radiographer running for state secretary of the No. 3 health professionals branch under the Clean Sweep banner, says he was shunted from a meeting room booked to discuss the imminent elections at St Vincent’s Hospital.

“I have been on the campaign trail of late, as one would expect,” McGregor told Crikey. “Which means I have been visiting as many hospital sites as possible to talk to the members and promote our cause.

“I had a meeting set up for 12pm. Upon arriving I was told, by one of my radiographic colleagues who booked the room for me, that the meeting was called off. I asked why and he told me that HR had contacted him to inform him that I was not allowed to speak to members on hospital grounds.”

McGregor suggested a rival ticket, “With Fleur We Can“, led by paid staffer and alleged Jackson supporter Fleur Behrens, had leaned on human resources executives to prevent the meeting occurring.

HSUEast administrator Michael Moore is in the process of de-merging the three constituent arms of the disgraced union following a Federal Court ruling ordering fresh elections, which are expected to be called in coming days. Jackson has moved to Sydney in a bid for control of the dominant NSW branch, with allies sparring for the two less-populous Victorian outposts.

Behrens says he has not personally informed hospital management of the meeting, but a delegate supportive of her campaign may have blown the whistle. She says McGregor had no right-of-entry to hospital premises for the purposes of campaigning under the Fair Work Act.

And she says claims Jackson is playing a hands-on role in her campaign is a vile canard: “She’s still national secretary of the union and she is supportive of me running. But she’s not involved in my campaign. To say I’m a puppet is entirely inaccurate and offensive … clearly it’s a way for Craig to gain support for him because he’s got no skills, he’s not been a long-standing HSU delegate and he doesn’t have what it takes to do the role.”

But McGregor hit back, labeling Behrens “anti-democratic”: “It is clear that the leopard has not changed its spots. The Jackson-Behrens team are autocratic and anti-democratic. We shouldn’t be surprised, Fleur has long been aware that elections were being hidden from members and chose to do nothing about.”

McGregor says the No. 3 branch has lost 35% of its membership during the Michael Williamson-Jackson debacle that has also hit morale in the broader labour movement. And he expressed concern that employees had been pressured to vote for the HSU’s latest low-ball enterprise bargaining agreement, a remnant of the Jackson-era recently ruled upon by staff.

Formal nominations for elections are expected to open in the next few days, despite the supreme difficulty in untangling the financial carnage caused during the Williamson era.

The area surrounding St Vincent’s East Melbourne locale has been the site of numerous HSU brawls in the past. In 2009 at the adjacent Dallas Brooks Hall, a HSU general meeting descended into farce when punches were thrown during the ugly fight between Pauline Fegan and Jeff Jackson for carriage of that branch.

A spokesperson for the hospital said any activity from either side would be viewed dimly: “It’s inappropriate for the hospital to provide meeting rooms for union election candidates — regardless of whether or not they have a right of union entry. We advised Mr McGregor that he was welcome to speak to staff outside the department, such as in the hospital café, and that’s where the meeting eventually occurred.”