Supporters of Yunus Bakhsh – the high profile nurse and activist who has been sacked for his trade union activities – were encouraged this week as the Unison union decided to postpone its own disciplinary action against him.
Yunus, who has been diagnosed by health professionals as unfit to sit through such proceedings, had told the union that he would be unable to attend hearings that were due to commence last week.
Only after the proceedings were scheduled to have concluded did Unison see fit to inform Yunus of new dates for the hearing, which is now set to take place early in September, and they specified no reason for their adjournment.
Yunus is appealing against his sacking and will be taking his employer to tribunal later this year, alleging that he has been attacked because he has been an effective trade union activist and a constant thorn in the side of management.
Many Unison activists are growing angry with the union’s senior leadership for the way they are persecuting Yunus – and in particular the way allegations of criminal activity have been allowed to smear him, without any related charge or evidence being presented.
John McDonnell MP is to host a meeting in the House of Commons on Wednesday of this week, entitled, “Is there a witch-hunt in Unison?”
He will be joined by Diana Leach, who is a member of Unison’s national executive, and will speak in a personal capacity.
The meeting will hear from a range of left wing Unison activists – including Yunus, Tony Stauton, Suzanne Muna and Onay Kasab – who will allege that disciplinary action against them has been orchestrated by an increasingly paranoid leadership.
Unison’s ruling pro-government faction worry that anger with New Labour’s attacks on workers could lead to further strikes and to the leadership being defeated in union elections. By attacking leading left activists some are trying to make this prospect less likely.
However, judging by the level of support for those at the receiving end of this attack, this plan seems to be coming dangerously unstuck.
Is there a witch-hunt in Unison? Wednesday 23 July, 7.15pm, committee room 14, House of Commons, London
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