Socialist Worker

Trust boss who sacked Karen Reissmann quits

Issue No. 2110

The health boss who sacked union activist Karen Reissmann for speaking out against cuts and privatisation has herself resigned following a damning report into mental health services in Manchester.

An independent review published last week concludes that the city’s mental health trust should seek “better communication with staff”. Manchester Mental Health Services Trust has previously been ranked among the worst performing in England and Wales.

Karen’s sacking led to a prolonged strike by more than 700 workers at the trust, and a storm of protest by user groups, trade unionists and community activists.

The outcry at her sacking split the Greater Manchester Labour Party, with scores of MPs – including former cabinet ministers Micheal Meacher and Ian McCartney – giving Karen their backing.

This week Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg weighed-in, saying that the way Karen has been treated is “nothing short of appalling”, and that “the first act of the new chief executive should be to reinstate Karen Reissmann”.

It is a demand that has been echoed by the service users’ group in its own report released this week. Paul Reed from the group said, “We are glad Sheila Foley has gone but we hope others including the trust chairwoman will go too now so we can have a fresh start.” 

Karen, who is standing for a place on the Unison union’s national executive, is currently preparing for an Employment Tribunal that is due to start on 1 September.

Trade unionists across Britain have taken up her case, fearing grave implications if an NHS trust can get away with sacking a union activist for speaking out in defence of their union’s policy.

Send messages of support and request new leaflets on Karen’s case by emailing her at

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Wed 16 Jul 2008, 18:58 BST
Issue No. 2110
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