Yunus Bakhsh, a leading activist in the Unison union, has now been suspended from his job as a health worker in Newcastle for six weeks.
The suspension is an attack on one of the best-organised health branches in the country. It comes at a time when the trust that employs Yunus wants to drive through sweeping cuts.
Yunus is the joint branch secretary of Unison North of Tyne health branch and sits on the union’s health service group executive. His fellow joint branch secretary also faces investigation.
The decision to suspend Yunus was based on an anonymous letter - backed up by anonymised statements.
Unison has challenged the legal basis of the disciplinary action.
The attack has provoked anger among Yunus’s colleagues, who have requested a strike ballot to fight what is seen as a straightforward victimisation.
Some are concerned at the long delay in agreeing such a ballot and feel that rapid action is needed to fight the attack.
The union branch has been fighting £24 million of cuts by the trust.
These cuts could mean major scaling back of staff numbers and services.
However, the deficit did not prevent managers, including those “investigating” Yunus, from awarding themselves massive pay rises earlier this year.
Send messages of support to [email protected]
Protest to chief executive Alan Hall, e-mail [email protected] or write to Alan Hall, Chief Executive, Northumberland Tyne and Wear trust, St Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3XT.