Sacked Unison union rep and Whipps Cross Hospital worker Charlotte Monro has been reinstated in Barts Health NHS Trust in east London.
This is a major victory for trade unionists and health workers – and a kick in the teeth for Barts Health’s bullying bosses.
Charlotte worked in Whipps Cross as an occupational therapist for 26 years. But bullying bosses sacked her in November 2013 for speaking out against cuts they were pushing through in the trust.
She raised concerns about them at the local Waltham Forest Borough Council’s health scrutiny committee.
What is now Barts Health NHS Trust was formed through a merger of four east London NHS trusts in 2013. As soon as the merger went through bosses began a million pound cuts programme to “save” money.
They got rid of 220 posts across Barts Health and downbanded several hundred experienced nursing staff, making them reapply for their jobs. This was due to a ballooning debt from Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals that caused the trust’s deficit to rocket to £93 million.
Sacking Charlotte was clearly aimed at weakening the union and stifling resistance. Bosses began disciplinary action against Charlotte two weeks before revealing the full extent of the trust’s debt.
Barts Health is now in the grip of a major crisis. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) slammed Barts Health for running Whipps Cross into the ground and has placed the hospital into “special measures”.
But the CQC’s report was clear that a “culture of bullying and harassment” and the “decision to remove 220 posts across the trust and down band several hundred more nursing staff” were to blame.
Charlotte’s reinstatement can strengthen the fightback. Every trade unionist and health campaigner must now use it build the resistance against attacks in Barts Health and across the NHS.