Karen Reissmann, the Manchester psychiatric nurse at the centre of a long running industrial dispute, was suspended for speaking out against a cuts and privatisation plan not very different to those that proved so disastrous at Maidstone and Tunbridge.
Mental health workers in Manchester have announced new strike dates in their campaign to defend Karen.
The workers, who are in the Unison union, will hold a three-day strike on Thursday and Friday of this week and Monday of next.
The strike will coincide with the start of Karen’s disciplinary hearing. Activists also plan a mass lobby in her support outside the hearing.
Manchester mental health and social care trust has had serious problems for some time and Unison has opposed many recent cuts and reorganisations.
Karen was suspended in June after she spoke out against cuts and denounced the spread of privatisation through the NHS.
All the charges against her relate to her trade union activity. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse in Manchester for over 25 years.
Unison believes the action being taken against Karen is an attempt to stop union protest and prevent people from speaking out.
The 700 Unison members in her branch have already taken eight days strike over this issue. They have lobbied the Labour Party conference and intend to further lobby local MPs during this strike.
Previous strikes led to management moving patients hundreds of miles away to private hospitals, causing a high level of distress and confusion for both the patients and their relatives. This has only increased the already broad support for Karen.
A public meeting to defend Karen, titled Save Our Mental Health Services, is planned for Wednesday 31 October at 12.30pm in Manchester town hall.
The lobby of Karen’s disciplinary hearing will take place at the trust’s headquarters at Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Road, at 8am on Thursday 18 October. Rush donations to the mental health Unison branch at 70 Manchester Road, Manchester M21 9UN. Download the branch’s petition from the campaign website at » www.reinstate-karen.org