SUPPORT HAS been growing for the campaign to reinstate two leading activists, Candy Udwin and Dave Carr, to the Unison union. The recent expulsion of Candy and Dave has created shockwaves within Unison and beyond.
As Noreen Morris, the branch secretary of Hammersmith and Fulham Unison, put it, 'We can't believe the union would expel two people who have been fighting for the NHS at this time. This is an unwarranted act that weakens our union. 'Both should be immediately reinstated.'
Candy and Dave, two Unison branch officers at UCL Hospitals in central London, have won wide respect for their role in spearheading the battle against the private takeover of the health service through PFI schemes. Last week Unison's London regional council gave unanimous support to the campaign.
Candy was presented with an award to say thank you for her work for over two years as the elected deputy convenor of the London Region. The meeting also unanimously passed two resolutions calling for Candy and Dave's reinstatement and to demand the union's NEC sets up an inquiry into the case.
Around 60 branch secretaries and union reps signed the statement in support of Candy and Dave after the meeting. These included leading figures in the union such as Jean Geldhart, branch secretary of Tower Hamlets local government Unison, and Dave Egmore, chair of the local government committee in Camden.
Several members of the union's NEC have also signed the statement. An annual general meeting of the UCLH branch last week was one of the biggest for years, with 96 people attending.
Again there was unanimous agreement to fight for Candy and Dave. The union branch also elected a new set of branch officers who are committed to continuing UCLH's tradition as a fighting union branch. The branch passed a motion agreeing to protest outside every hospital in the trust immediately war against Iraq starts.
Candy and Dave have also been getting the backing of other trade unionists. The London FBU firefighters' union unanimously called for the pair's reinstatement at a meeting last week.
Others signing the statement include PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, Alex Gordon and Stuart Hyslop from the RMT executive, John Denton, London regional secretary CWU, and Oliver New, president of RMT London transport regional committee (all in personal capacity).