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Posted on 10 March 2011 at 11:12 GMT

One of the 'Unison Four' now expelled

Onay Kasab addresses 200 trade unionists, community campaigners and service users marched in Greenwich borough, south London, against the local council's brutal cuts package, photo Lorraine Dardis

Onay Kasab addresses 200 trade unionists, community campaigners and service users marched in Greenwich borough, south London, against the local council's brutal cuts package, photo Lorraine Dardis   (Click to enlarge)

At 10.30am on 8 March, Unison made the decision to expel Onay Kasab from the union. This follows a witch-hunt that began back in 2007, which led to a two-year ban on holding union office for Onay as well as bans for Glen Kelly, Suzanne Muna and Brian Debus.

All four are members of the Socialist Party.

A Greenwich Unison member

A recent Employment Tribunal found that all four had been unjustifiably disciplined by Unison. However, instead of accepting this decision, the union has chosen to divert attention and finance away from the fight against the cuts and launch an appeal.

This is despite the verdict of the tribunal being unanimous, damning of the union and also concluding that the four had in no way acted in a manner that deserved such disciplinary action.

The latest charge against Onay, which led to the decision to expel him, was that he has acted to Unison's detriment by being active in Unite. The reality is that Unison had not only banned Onay from being an elected representative, but Unison was also doing everything in its power to prevent Onay from playing any kind of role, even as a rank and file member.

The Greenwich Unison branch has been taken into 'regional administration'.

No meetings ever take place, no communication goes out to members, calls to the office are not answered and all stewards and officers have been derecognised, not by the employer but by the union!

In light of the cuts being imposed in Greenwich, Onay joined Unite (while keeping his Unison membership) in order to continue to fight as a trade unionist.

Unison conference 2009: Brian Debus, Onay Kasab and Glenn Kelly,

Unison conference 2009: Brian Debus, Onay Kasab and Glenn Kelly,

At the same time and in disgust at Unison's witch-hunt, many Greenwich Unison members have left Unison and joined Unite. This should come as no surprise.

Hundreds wrote to Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, saying they would do this if the witch-hunt continued.

Now Onay is being blamed for these members resigning!

The disciplinary hearing itself was a travesty. No convincing evidence was presented to back up the charge.

The investigation was incomplete. No witnesses appeared to back up the union's case.

Confidential post was intercepted and used by the union, possibly breaching data protection legislation. The union's key piece of evidence was not even presented during the investigation.

In fact the standard of the investigation and the hearing itself fell below what most union representatives would expect from the employers. This expulsion sends the message to all Unison members that the union prioritises attacking its own activists over fighting the cuts.

More effort is spent fighting activists than the employers. Unison members in Greenwich will now question even further the value of continuing in Unison membership.

A fight has to be mounted for democracy in Unison. This can only come by replacing the current cowardly and witch-hunting leadership with a fighting, democratic leadership.

In Greenwich, Onay Kasab will be standing for the leadership of the newly merged Greenwich Unite branch, on the basis of building a member- led, united fightback union branch prepared to fight the employers.

In the fight against the cuts, we need democracy, not bureaucracy!

Send messages of protest to Unison HQ: Unison, 1 Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9AJ .

Telephone: 0845 355 0845


Also send to: Defend the Four Campaign, PO Box 858 London E11 1YG.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

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