Socialist Worker

Verdict due in critical Yunus Bakhsh tribunal

Issue No. 2200

Sacked nurse and union activist Yunus Bakhsh’s employment tribunal has completed its hearings and the panel is now considering a verdict. A decision is expected in about three weeks.

A series of important matters emerged during the hearing including:

  1. Kerry Cafferty, Michael Dodds and Heather Stephenson were the three “anonymous witnesses” who, within days of Yunus’s suspension from work, made allegations of bullying against him to the Trust management.

    All were Unison union stewards in the Northgate and Prudhoe branch – which had voted to back Yunus.

  2. Cafferty was allowed to resign from Unison a day before she was due to face an allegation of racism. Yunus had presented the northern region of Unison with evidence from her Facebook page that showed she was a member of groups frequented by Nazis.
  3. The Unison northern region posted an entry about the revelations on its website. This article failed to name Cafferty, but incredibly did contain an attack on Yunus. The piece was changed after several members of Unison’s national executive complained to Kevan Nelson, the union’s head of democratic affairs.
  4. Cafferty, Dodds and Stephenson were interviewed as “anonymous witnesses” by management in May 2007. Neither Yunus nor his representative were allowed to cross-examine them.
  5. Cafferty, Dodds and Stephenson – along with others from the Northgate branch – made similar bullying allegations to national Unison.

    These led to Yunus being suspended from his elected positions and ultimately expelled from the union.

  6. Liz Latham, the Trust’s head of human relations, held a meeting with Liz Twist, the union’s head of health in the northern region. The meeting, which discussed Yunus, was held in the Unison northern regional office. Neither Yunus, nor his representative, knew about this meeting.
  7. Latham claims to have received the “anonymous letter” that led to Yunus’s suspension in September 2006, but it was date stamped in 2004. The stamp used was from the old Newcastle Northumberland and North Tyneside NHS Trust. This organisation ceased to exist the previous April.
  8. Unison full time officer Peter Chapman was moved from representing Yunus. Peter had handled Yunus’s case from September 2006. This was done “without notice”.

    Unison’s northern region then appointed Charlie Syme – despite the fact that he had no recent experience of representing members and his duties were entirely managerial. He has represented no one else since.

Send messages of support to [email protected] Donations payable to Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign and send c/o 46c Lawe Rd, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 2EN

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Article information

Tue 4 May 2010, 18:46 BST
Issue No. 2200
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