Unison gives its blessing for national demonstration
The Unison union’s health group executive last week voted to approach the NHS Together union coalition with a view to building a national demonstration with community groups on a Saturday at the end of March.
The demonstration will follow on from a TUC local day of action in defence of the NHS in early March.
It is welcome that Unison is at last planning a much-needed national demonstration. Unison leaders are writing to branches to sound out their ability to build the event.
It is vital that they respond positively and reflect the real possibilities to build a big protest on health issues that cement new alliances.
Unison has encouraged its branches to get involved with the Keep Our NHS Public campaigning organisation.
Activists should build Keep Our NHS Public on a broad basis that brings together all those who want to fight cuts.
Community NHS staff in Unison in Manchester launched an indicative ballot for strike action at their protest car cavalcade on Tuesday.
Dozens of cars decorated with posters and balloons took part in the procession to highlight cuts and possible privatisation of the city’s mental health service.
Occupational therapists, activities staff, senior support workers, team secretaries, day care staff, technical instructors, therapists, over 100 nurses and some users and carers were involved.
The event was organised by the staff side committee of Manchester mental health and social care trust. This involves Unison and Amicus trade unions working with the Royal College of Nursing.
Defend Yunus Bakhsh
Yunus Bakhsh, a leading health activist in Unison, has been suspended from work for the past nine weeks.
Yunus is joint branch secretary of Unison’s North of Tyne health branch, a member of the union’s health service group executive and a former member of the union’s national executive.
He was suspended on the basis of an undated, anonymous letter, which the management claims could be backed up by anonymous statements.
Yunus’s colleagues see the suspension as an attack on the union—the branch is one of the best organised in the NHS and Yunus has been a thorn in the side of management.
Workers are considering a ballot for industrial action to defend Yunus.
Health Worker, a rank and file organisation in the NHS, has produced a leaflet in defence of Yunus.
To obtain copies write to Health Worker, 123 Coppice Street, Oldham OL8 4BH. Rush messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Some 2,500 people demonstrated in Maidstone, Kent, last Saturday against the proposal to downgrade Maidstone hospital’s accident and emergency department.
People United Saving Hospitals
Around 50 campaigners came to the People United Saving Hospitals meeting in Nuneaton last Saturday. It called for a national demonstration early in the new year and local protests before Christmas.