Over 300 delegates heard Unison activists Yunus Bakhsh and Tony Staunton put their case at a lively and angry fringe meeting at the conference. It was the biggest fringe meeting of all.
There was huge support for both Yunus and Tony.Both outlined how the union was opening up room for employers to target trade unionists by attacking activists.
Yunus was suspended from his union position last year and has been threatened with dismissal by his employers.
Plymouth Unison union branch secretary Tony Staunton was suspended from the union following allegations which he is strongly contesting.
Tony and Yunus pointed out that the attacks were based on the union being caught between pressure to fight for the members and loyalty to Gordon Brown.
This view had been backed up when in his speech to conference Dave Prentis praised the union full timers and added, “I can’t help comparing them with those in our union sitting on sidelines, instructed by their central committees, to denigrate, to undermine, to demean everything we do.” His speech made many delegates furious.
A number of delegates from the Socialist Party are also being investigated by Unison.
Tony Staunton faces a union disciplinary hearing on 9 July. The Friends of Tony Staunton are organising a lobby to wish him good luck. Meet 8.30am at the Holiday Inn, Armada Way, Plymouth, and bring your banner. Send messages of support to [email protected]
Yunus Bakhsh – messages of support should be sent to [email protected]