More than 40 protesters gathered outside the offices of Pell & Bales in central London on Tuesday last week to give noisy support to CWU union activist Pat Carmody.
Pat was attending an appeal hearing after being sacked for writing a short article in Socialist Worker.
The result of the hearing is set to be announced as we go to press.
Pat’s four sentence article simply reported that a well attended union meeting at the call centre had launched a campaign to defend a fellow worker – and that many had “signed a petition calling for the charges to be dropped”.
CWU national organising secretary John East pointed out that the company’s response was at odds with its ethical stance – Pell & Bales works for clients including Oxfam, Action Aid and Christian Aid.
Kate Hankey of the CWU’s Capital branch paid tribute to Pat’s work in building union membership at Pell & Bales from almost nothing to 120 in just a few years.
The mood of employees was summed up by one activist who asked for his name to be withheld.
“The mood is sadness really,” he said. “Pat was really pulling the community together and taking him out of it has left a big vacuum. There is a big sense of loss and injustice.”
But he stressed, “The CWU isn’t going to go away – we’ve got well over 100 members now and the desire to have that support and network at work, and an independent voice, is undiminished.”