Unison union members have launched a campaign to defend leading health worker Karen Reissmann.
Over 400 have signed a statement calling on the Unison leadership to reinstate Karen to her democratically-elected union positions.
She was an outspoken critic of the NHS pay deal that was cobbled together by the Tories and 13 health unions.
Karen is currently suspended from holding office in Unison. She was elected to the union’s national executive committee (NEC) and the health service group executive committee (SGE).
Her statement has been signed by 20 fellow NEC members and 18 members of SGEs for health, local government and higher education.
Karen is a socialist and a union militant who raises solidarity for strikes and fights to defend the NHS. So it’s no surprise that members of branches involved in Unison’s high-profile disputes have signed the statement.
This includes health workers from Wigan and Bolton who won over outsourcing and pay after a series of strikes. And members of local government branches in Birmingham, Camden and Glasgow, where workers have recently struck, have also signed.
The statement said, “Karen has been outspoken about the NHS pay deal. She believes NHS workers could have done better from this weak government and that Unison materials were misleading to members.
“We do not know if these views and her suspension are linked, but would have grave concerns if they were.
“If Karen is suspended for having views different to that of the national leadership, her suspension should be immediately lifted.”
The leaderships of the 13 health unions missold the NHS pay deal to their members.
NHS pay scales are made up bands, subdivided into incremental points.
Health workers who have not reached the top of their pay band moved up these points at an annual increment date.
Unison and the other unions had a pay calculator on their websites.
It suggested people not at the top of their pay bands would get pay rises on 1 April that they were not due until their increment date.
This date could be up to 11 and a half months later.
The leadership of the Royal College of Nursing was forced to resign over the misselling of the deal. This revolt made the leadership of Unison nervous because it was one of the key unions that pushed for the deal.
The leaders of the 13 health unions should reopen the deal.
The Unison leadership should immediately lift Karen’s suspension and withdraw any disciplinary action.