Socialist Worker

Campaign growing for Karen Reissmann

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2638

Solidarity with Karen

Solidarity with Karen (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Trade unionists and socialists rallied in support of victimised health worker Karen Reissmann in Manchester last Saturday.

More than 40 people joined the inaugural public meeting of the Reinstate Karen Reissmann campaign in the city. It brought together Unison union members from Greater Manchester, Yorkshire, Birmingham and London.

They are demanding that Karen is reinstated to her democratically-elected posts in Unison.

Karen was suspended from holding national executive committee (NEC) and health service group executive (SGE) committee.

She was a leading critic of the NHS pay deal that the leaders of 13 health unions missold to their members.

Karen’s suspension is an attack on the whole of the left and union democracy.

If the Unison leadership gets away with victimising Karen, they could use it as a pretext to move against other left wingers and grassroots initiatives.

At the meeting one Unison member from Yorkshire said, “Unison has a history of trying to knock out left wing activists who get in their way.”

They added, “But what we do in the next few weeks in critical.”

The meeting received messages of support from two Unison local government branches and a hospital branch.

Activists reported how they had been gathering support in workplaces and union bodies for the statement calling for Karen’s reinstatement.

Over 500 people have signed it—including fellow members of the executive and different SGEs.

Activists should keep going around workplaces and union branches gathering signatures. And, if Karen’s suspension is not lifted, activists are planning lobbying and organising events around Unison’s sector conferences in the coming months.

What you can do

  • Invite a speaker to a campaign meeting in your area
  • If you haven’t already, sign the statement at
  • Like and share the Reinstate Karen Reissmann Facebook page
  • Take a selfie at work or in your union meeting or committee with the Reinstate Karen Reissmann sign available from the Facebook page
  • Support Karen and the other Unison Action left candidates in the Unison NEC elections.

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