Socialist Worker

MPs support campaign to defend Michael Gavan

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2088

Michael Gavan (centre) with Tony Benn, John McDonnell and other supporters  (Pic: Charlie Kimber)

Michael Gavan (centre) with Tony Benn, John McDonnell and other supporters (Pic: Charlie Kimber)

In which area set to host the Olympics are trade union rights denied? Certainly they are in China, but it’s also true in Labour-run Newham in east London – one of the key areas for the 2012 games.

Michael Gavan, the Unison union branch chair, has been sacked for standing up against the council’s policy of cuts and privatisation.

Around 200 people gathered in Newham on Monday at a meeting to support Michael and discuss the battle for democracy and union rights. Delegations came from councils across the capital.

Speakers included Tony Benn, Labour MP John McDonnell and Jean Geldart, the chair of Unison’s local government executive.

There was huge support and solidarity with Michael, and also great anger against the council.

One bin worker told the audience how he had lost £4,500 a year under the single status deal and, after decades of service, had been forced to give up his flat and go back to living with his mum.

The audience applauded demands for Unison to step up its action in defence of activists, and speakers who asked why the union gives so much money to the Labour Party that is attacking its members.

Send messages of support to Newham Unison, Burford Business Centre, 1st Floor, 11 Burford Road, Stratford, London E15 or email

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Article information

Tue 12 Feb 2008, 19:06 GMT
Issue No. 2088
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