Socialist Worker

Defend union activists: Sued for thousands after being victimised

Issue No. 2106

There was a fringe meeting against the witch-hunt of activists in Unison set for Thursday lunchtime at the conference. The decision by Unison to appeal recent judgments by the Certification Officer in favour of Tony Staunton and Yunus Bakhsh meant their cases were excluded from discussion on the conference floor.

Tony Staunton

Many Unison delegates were visibly shocked to hear the latest in the case of Plymouth activist Tony Staunton.

Tony, one of Unison’s most dedicated activists until he was expelled last year in a politically motivated witch-hunt is now threatened with financial ruin.

Unison has instructed its lawyers to serve a writ on him demanding up to £15,000 in damages. When legal costs are added, the final sum could be five times as much.

The case against Tony centred on the use of computer equipment. For many years it has been the practice in Plymouth to supply key branch officers with computers, without any limitation or restriction on use.

Both Tony and his branch accepted that he was free to use the computers for personal use and that they would become his property.

Unison has launched legal proceedings against Tony.

These not only demanded the return of the computers – which now have little value, with the laptop not working and written off by the branch in October 2006 – but also seek damages for “profits” from the use of the computers and replacement costs. This is despite no replacements ever being purchased and the computers having been returned.

Campaigners have launched an appeal to support Tony.

Please send cheques payable to D Franklin to Friends of Tony Staunton, c/o 124 Devonport Road, Stoke, Plymouth, PL1 5RF. For more details email [email protected]

Yunus Bakhsh

NHS union activist Yunus Bakhsh faces the verdict in the disciplinary hearing held by his employer.

Twenty months since he was originally suspended from work, his NHS trust is set to sack him.

Yunus is signed off sick, but despite the confirmation by his GP and other health professionals of his inability to attend a hearing, the trust has pushed ahead regardless.

Send messages of support to [email protected]Send donations to Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign, c/o 46c Lawe Road, South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE33 2EN. Cheques payable to Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign

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