Socialist Worker

Stand with Karen Reissmann and the fight for NHS pay

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2629

Unison members marched for the NHS in June - but their leaders let them down over  pay

Unison members marched for the NHS in June - but their leaders let them down over pay (Pic: Guy Smallman)

A leading health worker in Unison has been suspended from holding office in the union, according to leaked internal emails.

Karen Reissmann was one of the main figures who spoke out against an NHS pay deal that fell short of what workers could have won. It was cobbled together by the Tories and the leaderships of 13 health unions. 

She was elected as a member of the Unison national executive committee and health service group executive.

According to an email leaked to the Nursing Notes news website, Unison members are raising concerns about the reasons for Karen’s suspension. It said, “We note that Karen Reissmann is currently suspended from office in Unison

“She has been outspoken about the NHS pay deal and we are concerned these views and her suspension are linked.

“Whatever our own personal view of the NHS pay deal, or if we have no view at all, we believe that any investigation of branches or individuals should be withdrawn and Karen’s suspension should be immediately lifted.”


Unison and the other unions had a pay calculator. It suggested people not at the top of their pay bands would get pay rises which actually they were not due until their increment date. This date could be up to 11 and half months later.

A revolt in the Royal College of Nursing over the mis-selling of the pay deal saw the leadership lose a vote of no confidence and resign. It was a vindication of all those who campaigned against the pay deal.

The leaders of the 13 health unions should reopen the pay deal and fight to get more from this weak, divided Tory government.

If it is true that Karen has been suspended from holding office, the Unison leadership should immediately lift her suspension and withdraw any disciplinary action.

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