A SENSE of outrage has greeted the latest attempt by leaders of the public sector UNISON union to attack leading socialists and activists. Last week UNISON leaders summoned two leading health activists, Karen Reissmann from Manchester and Yunus Bakhsh from Newcastle, and told them they were being investigated for "bullying, intimidation and harassment". Karen and Yunus are accused of harassing a UNISON national executive committee member while they were leafleting outside the union's health conference on 13 April.
Karen and Yunus were told they would not be allowed to attend any venue or UNISON event which the NEC member was likely to attend, including UNISON's national conference in June. They also said Yunus would not be able to take up his seat on the health sector group executive.
Karen and Yunus vigorously deny the charges. "This is a political decision which continues the witch-hunt of leading left wingers in the union," said Karen Reissmann. The attack on Yunus and Karen follows disciplinary hearings and expulsions of activists in Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham and elsewhere.
Eight activists from Sheffield face union disciplinary hearings next week. But many in the union, including some leading officials, are worried that things have gone too far.
- Protest against the attack on Yunus and Karen. Fax Dave Picking at UNISON on 020 7387 6692.
- Lobby Sheffield disciplinary hearings, Thursday 25 May, 8.30am, Novotel, Arundel Gate, Sheffield city centre.
- censored: a benefit for the Candy Udwin and Dave Carr defence campaign. Comedian Jeremy Hardy, DJ Seed, The Bridge, and much more! Friday 26 May, 7.30pm, St Aloysius Social Club, Phoenix Road, London NW1. Tickets �5 (solidarity price �7). Phone/fax 020 7323 1162. "Stop the attack and start the fightback".
THE conference of members of the UNISON union working in higher education met in Newcastle on Friday of last week. The employers' offer of a 2.5 percent pay rise angered delegates. They voted against their executive and backed a motion from London Guildhall University calling for a high profile campaign and action over pay. One speaker said that the government could easily fund higher pay for public sector workers because it had got an extra �22 billion from selling off mobile phone licences. There was great support for the NUJ union statement in defence of refugees and many delegates signed it.