It was my Unite branch meeting tonight – quite a good turnout, despite torrential rain. We discussed the candidates for the Unite Executive Council election. We nominated candidates who we believe will fight hard for lay control in the Union, and who will put the interests of members ahead of the interests of the Labour Government, including Raymond Morell for London and Jane Stewart for one of the Women’s seats.
The second important item on the agenda was Karen Reissmann’s victimisation, and the magnificent fight by Karen and her colleagues for her reinstatement.
Branch members agreed unanimously to send a message of support to the campaign, together with appropriate letters of condemnation to the Chief Executive and Chair of the Trust, copied to Alan Johnson, and to donate £500 towards the fightback.
£500 is a lot for a Unite branch, as our finances are typically quite limited. A donation of this size reflects the importance that we attach to this dispute. Several members at the meeting raised their own stories of senior managers bullying or victimising trade union activists. We simply can’t allow Karen to lose, as this would be the green light to NHS bosses everywhere to turn on the best activists in our movement. A victory for Karen will be a victory for every single trade union activist in the health service – an assertion of our right to do our jobs as trade unionists, and to defend our members (and our NHS) against cuts and privatisation.
The demonstration calling for Karen’s reinstatement is this Saturday, 24th November, assembling at 1pm, Peace Gardens, Manchester (back of Manchester Town Hall). We need the largest possible turnout at this event.