Socialist Worker

Growing solidarity for Karen Reissmann

Issue No. 2078

Over 150 health workers in Manchester are on indefinite strike to reinstate Karen Reissmann (centre) (Pic:» Guy Smallman )

Over 150 health workers in Manchester are on indefinite strike to reinstate Karen Reissmann (centre) (Pic: » Guy Smallman)

Solidarity is pouring in for mental health strikers in Manchester who are fighting for the reinstatement of their union branch chair Karen Reissmann.

Karen, who is a psychiatric nurse, was sacked earlier this month after she spoke out against cuts and privatisation.

Since then 150 workers have launched an indefinite strike.

Delegations of strikers are touring the country, explaining why all trade unionists should get behind them.

One senior support worker, who travelled to London as part of a small group of strikers last week, told Socialist Worker how vital the solidarity meetings have been.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, so I was quite nervous to start with. But that wore off and I was able to make a big pitch for solidarity donations and delegations to the march this weekend.

“When you talk to people face to face you get an accurate picture of how strong our support is around Britain.

“While in London we were constantly at solidarity meetings – from minutes after we got off the train on Monday, until minutes before we were due to go back on Wednesday.

“And the whole time we were getting more invitations. In the end we couldn’t fit everyone in and have had to make arrangements to come back.

“The big meetings, like the Battersea and Wandsworth trades council, gave us a sense of how our strike is becoming a national issue.

“People there were making comparisons between the issues that triggered our dispute and what happens in their own workplaces.

“Everyone said that we were inspiring them to fight back too.

“But some of the smaller meetings were really moving too. We addressed one community team at Islington council. They had made a card for us and taken a collection.

“They were really interested in the way we are organising the strike and the level of involvement of union members.

“I’m back on my picket line as I speak to you, and many others here have been on solidarity trips around the country too – and we all tell the same sort of story.

“Despite the rain and the cold, spirits here could not be higher. Money is pouring in from everywhere, we’ve got now over £120,000 and support from the public is overwhelming.

“We are going to win.”

Rush donations to Manchester Community and Mental Health branch Unison, c/o union office, Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Road, Manchester, M21 9UN. Email messages of support to [email protected]

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Article information

Tue 20 Nov 2007, 18:58 GMT
Issue No. 2078
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