Kenny Bell, the branch secretary of Newcastle City Unison and deputy regional convenor of the Northern region, has made an extraordinary intervention in the case of Yunus Bakhsh.
The news of Yunus’s victory at an employment tribunal—and the issues it raises about his expulsion from Unison—has spread like wildfire around the union’s Northern region.
This has clearly led to demands for guidance about what to say when members demand to know what went on.
Bell has sent a covering letter, in addition to a statement from Northern Unison that came out in August, to some Unison reps.
Its main allegation is the by now stale charge that Yunus was guilty of “misappropriation of union funds” amounting to ”thousands of pounds”.
In fact Yunus’s sacking made it impossible for him to collect the evidence that could exonerate him.
Nor does Bell offer any explanation as to why Unison has not demanded money back from Yunus if he is guilty of large-scale theft.
But there’s also a new charge from Bell—that a branch audit in 2003 found Yunus was guilty of “the same offence” of stealing money.
This is a lie and a smear. Yunus was not guilty of any theft, and nor was that found by any union body in 2003.
Does Bell really believe that if a Socialist Workers Party member had been found guilty of theft in 2003 that this would have been covered up?
And as for financial probity, while on the Unison national executive Yunus was noted for not claiming his full expenses and asking that the money be paid through the branch.
The truth is that Yunus was wrongly sacked by his employer. The same “evidence” that was used to drive him from his workplace was also seized upon to trawl for evidence that was then employed to expel him from Unison.
Kenny Bell’s intervention is another good reason to sign and to circulate the open letter to Unison leader Dave Prentis about Yunus’s case.
Bell has also angered many Unison members with comments in the local media that are sympathetic to public sector bosses who get fat salaries of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Download Yunus's open letter [120kb PDF]
Read Kenny Bell's letter [128kb jpeg]