Sacked nurse Karen Reissmann won a major victory last week when she was elected to the Unison union’s national executive.
She was overwhelmingly elected in the by-election for the health general seat.
Karen, a Unison union rep, was sacked in November last year for speaking out against cuts and privatisation in Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.
Her sacking led to a huge campaign for her reinstatement that continues today.
“My election is a significant victory,” Karen told Socialist Worker.
“It shows that union members want people who are serious about their interests – and who are willing to take action to defend them – to represent them.
“In my election address I talked about the genuine fears that workers have in the public sector – for their jobs and about what cuts and privatisation are doing to the services.
“The government has put money into the health service, but it’s been wasted through pushing market policies.
“People have sent me messages of congratulations on my election from all over the country.
“They want a different sort of union – one that acts for them.
“Working class people today are frightened at the state of the world. But they are also angry.
“The government has suddenly found plenty of money to bail out the banks.
“But why can’t it do this for our services?
“The campaign against cuts in health is ongoing.
“The government knows that its ‘reorganisation’ isn’t solving the problems in health.
“More and more people are aware that Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) end up being more expensive than keeping the work in the public sector and divert money away from the service.
“The campaign against cuts has involved workers, service users and other activists. We are continuing the fight.
“The trust has not engaged workers or service users about its plans and is still not engaging them – but they continue to demand that their voices be heard.”
An employment tribunal had been due to begin at the start of this month but was adjourned.
The tribunal is unlikely to take place before December. Trade unionists and activists against privatisation across the country should continue to campaign for Karen’s reinstatement.
Please send messages of support for the campaign to reinstate Karen to firstname.lastname@example.org