Socialist Worker

Yunus Bakhsh: Trade unions must defend members fighting back

Issue No. 2249

Health bosses are not the only ones who will find the judge’s ruling uncomfortable—national and regional leaders of the union Unison will be squirming too.

They targeted Yunus, sensing an opportunity to weaken the left in the union.

Leaders continued to persecute Yunus even after it was revealed that his key accusers were associated with fascists and that Nazi websites were being kept well informed of the fine detail of his case.

Despite the bosses’ attack on Yunus being designed to weaken trade union organisation in Britain’s biggest mental health trust, union leaders refused to fight for his job.

Instead, they began a well-orchestrated campaign to undermine him.

Union officials insisted he had no chance of winning his case at tribunal and that they would not fund such a challenge.

Unison removed all legal support for Yunus and he was forced to raise the money for his tribunal himself.

They then used a sham investigation, in which Kerry Cafferty was called as a witness, as the pretext for expelling Yunus from Unison.

The long running case has spread poison throughout the trade union movement in the north east of England, with Yunus’s supporters regularly hounded by union officials.

Some have themselves faced Unison inquisitions—and still more are threatened.

This has drastically damaged the confidence of hundreds of lay activists that make up the backbone of the trade union movement.

And Unison’s reputation as an organisation committed to fighting racism and discrimination has taken a battering, as many rightly ask how sections of the union could have sided with racists against a leading black trade unionist.

Yunus’s campaign calls for:

  • Immediate reinstatement of Yunus to Unison and all his union positions.
  • An inquiry into how the union could make such grievous errors over such an extended period of time.
  • An apology from Unison for its actions in this case.
  • Payment by the union of all Yunus’s legal costs that are not met by the tribunal.

Write to Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign, c/o 46c Lawe Road, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE33 2EN

Come to the Thank You social, Friday 20 May, Central Bar, Half Moon Lane, Gateshead, NE8 2AN

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Article information

Tue 26 Apr 2011, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2249
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