Well known Unison union activist Yunus Bakhsh has been suspended from work for his trade union activities for over a year, and the campaign for his reinstatement has gained widespread support – producing some of the biggest fringe meetings at Unison conferences.
But hostility towards the campaign from some Unison officials in Yunus’s northern region is now threatening even the most basic democratic rights in the union.
In advance of last week’s regional conference, delegates received written instructions, from northern regional secretary Gill Hale that they must not have anything to do with a fringe meeting being organised to support Yunus.
Failure to adhere to this instruction would be a
contravention of the “democracy in Unison” rules.
Alan Docherty, secretary of Darlington branch, was ejected from the conference after being accused of “promoting attendance” of the fringe meeting.
Other delegates were also threatened with expulsion – including one who was accused of leaving a leaflet in a toilet.
There are clearly implications for democratic campaigning across the union as fringe meetings play an important part of all our conferences.
If the northern region decision is replicated elsewhere, any group whose views
seeks differ from the leadership could find itself outlawed.
For more details contact the Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign c/o 46c Lawe Road, South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE33 2EN. Phone 07958 171 205. Send messages of support to Yunus at firstname.lastname@example.org