Socialist Worker

Defend Yunus Bakhsh

Issue No. 2047

Yunus Bakhsh

Yunus Bakhsh

The extent of the witch-hunt against leading NHS and union activist Yunus Bakhsh by both his management and the Unison union has been further revealed this week.

Following a heated staff side meeting last year, Tyne and Wear NHS bosses actively sought complaints against Yunus.

And in an outrageous perversion of justice, those bosses have now decided that some of the most important “witnesses” in their disciplinary hearing against Yunus will appear anonymously.

That means Yunus could be sacked as a psychiatric nurse and struck-off the nurses’ register on the say-so of people who cannot be questioned by his representative.

It is possible that some of those who have agreed to give evidence against him have ulterior motives that would require a thorough cross-examination – one which Yunus’s bosses seem determined to not let happen.

They claim that revealing the identity of their witnesses would give rise to “genuine fears for their safety”.

If this principle is accepted, it will mean that every NHS union activist in Britain is at risk from similar management assaults.

While Tyne and Wear NHS bosses are setting up their kangaroo court to sack him, the regional leadership of Yunus’s union are doing their best to ensure that there is no union organised support for him.

In January, just days after he was suspended by Unison as a joint branch secretary, activists from Yunus’s branch attempted to observe the regional council of their union, in the hope that the matter would be raised there.

They were told that, contrary to recent practice, no observers would be allowed to attend the meeting because the proper requests had not been made. Regional convenor Clare Williams ruled motions that related to Yunus’s case out of order.

Many activists, including a number of low paid domestic workers, decided to take a day annual leave so they could attend the regional council on Tuesday of this week.

Unison’s regional leaders responded by writing personalised letters to those who requested observer credentials telling them that they are barred, “for security reasons”.

And again motions that relate to Yunus’s case have been ruled out of order.


The disgraceful way in which Yunus has been treated by his own union in the face of such a vicious management assault has created polarisation within Unison’s northern region.

This has left its leadership looking increasingly isolated.

Many leading figures in the region recently sent a letter to Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, outlining their concerns at Yunus’s treatment and the failure of the union to adequately fight for his job.

That letter, and a petition that calls upon Unison’s industrial action committee to immediately authorise a ballot for strike action in Yunus’s union branch, are now available for every Unison branch in the country to sign.

The treatment of Yunus Bakhsh raises a number of important questions about union democracy.

Following Yunus’s suspension from office, those who have been put in charge of running his branch decided to “elect” delegates to the national conference in June without even holding a meeting.

It is vital that every Unison activist raises the letter and petition in their branch as soon as possible.

For more details contact the Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign c/o 46c Lawe Road, South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE33 2EN. Phone 07958 171 205. To get your copy of the letter to Dave Prentis, and the petition to Unison’s industrial action committee, or to send messages of support, email

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Tue 17 Apr 2007, 18:49 BST
Issue No. 2047
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