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Don’t let council bosses sack Paul Holmes

Issue 2791

Paul Holmes

Bosses at Kirklees council have sacked the Unison union’s national president, the left winger Paul Holmes.

Paul’s sacking comes after council bosses suspended him in December 2019—more than two years ago—over “serious and confidential” accusations.As branch secretary of Kirklees Unison for 32 years, he had led strong strikes and campaigns—most recently by refuse workers against bullying and racism.

Paul is now appealing to an employment tribunal for interim relief on the grounds of union victimisation. This is supported by Unison nationally. 

This would see his pay protected until the outcome of the tribunal. During a solidarity rally on Saturday, Paul said that in his time as branch secretary there had been only one compulsory redundancy at the council and no sackings for gross misconduct.

He added that the union had three pending strike ballots at Kirklees council just before he was suspended. And he said a year before he was suspended, senior Kirklees council managers had ended an “away day” chanting, “We’re going to break Paul Holmes, we’re going to break the union.”

A number of allegations of improper behaviour were made public after Paul’s sacking last week. Such complaints always have to be taken seriously. They cannot simply be dismissed, or manipulated to help bosses victimise a union activist.

Go to for information on how you can support Paul’s defence campaign.

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