Socialist Worker

The case against Yunus Bakhsh may be coming unstuck

Issue No. 2138

The witch-hunt in the Unison union that aims to expel leading activist Yunus Bakhsh is showing signs of coming unstuck, with allegations of racism in the union continuing to cause a storm.

It was revealed last month that Kerry Cafferty – whose accusation that Yunus was behind a “campaign of intimidation” led to a disciplinary investigation – was linked to Facebook groups that were a focus for racists.

Unison was quick to respond to this revelation.

The union’s Northern region issued a statement on its website about the allegations against her headlined, “Unison upholds complaint of racism.”

This stated that neither she, nor her husband Peter, had “submitted evidence to, or participated in, the NEC Disciplinary Sub Committee hearing which charges against Yunus Bakhsh in 2008”.

Yet this claim is not borne out by the union’s own report. Appendix one lists the names and dates of all those interviewed by the union.

It shows that Kerry Cafferty was interviewed on 27 February 2007 and that Peter Cafferty was interviewed twice – on 26 February 2007 and again on 17 October 2007.

The secretary of Unison’s Northern region, who drafted the website statement, would surely have been aware of this.

Unison says that it has taken claims of racism behind complaints against Yunus seriously, but a glance at its methods shows otherwise.

Unison’s chief investigator, John Cafferty (no relation to the accusers), says that his inquiry was not “tainted by any racist motivation”.

Cafferty says he was able to establish this by asking witnesses “whether or not the fact that Yunus was black was a factor in them making their complaints”.

Kerry Cafferty was one of the complainants. She subsequently joined Facebook groups with names such as, “England is our country… our rules, don’t like it? Fuck off.”

Yet her Unison interviewer could detect no sign of a racial motivation for her claims against Yunus.

Surely Unison leaders must accept Kerry Cafferty’s evidence has “tainted” the whole process, and that, as a consequence, Yunus should immediately be brought back into the union.

Email messages of support to [email protected]or write to Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign, c/o 46c Lawe Road, South Shields, Tyne and Wear NE33 2EN

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Article information

Tue 10 Feb 2009, 18:24 GMT
Issue No. 2138
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