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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 November 2007

Health workers strike against sacking

Manchester Community and Mental Health Trust bosses sacked Unison rep Karen Reissman on 5 November. Management want to weaken the union so they can implement £3 million-worth of cuts to services. 150 nurses plan all-out strike action from 8 November to demand Karen's reinstatement.

Hugh Caffrey, Manchester

In two weeks time there will be a branch-wide one-day strike. There will be an evening rally on 14 November and a demonstration on 24 November.

Within hours of sacking Karen, managers were bullying staff and threatening to further attack the union. They told the press this is "in the best interests" of all concerned!

The trust board should be sacked, all debts and deficits cancelled and the accounts opened to staff and patients' representatives to examine this so-called financial crisis. Any shortfall in funding should be covered by central government and the regional NHS.

There are £millions in the north-west NHS accounts unspent after previous cuts. More savings could be made by scrapping the privatisation deals currently throwing money at private companies.

The trust say Karen brought them into disrepute by speaking out against management cuts and bullying. In reality it is management's own actions - cuts and profiteering, not to mention private perks - that shame the name of the NHS.

The Socialist Party has consistently supported nurses who have already taken 14 days of strike action to defend Karen, as we did earlier this year when they successfully fought to save services. Through Keep Our NHS Public we and others have publicised the struggle and organised transport to the 3 November London NHS demo.

This could be a prolonged struggle if management dig in their heels. Health workers, and the wider public, need to support the strikers financially and on pickets and protests.

The all-out action, and political pressure linked to the wider issue of opposing destruction of the NHS, can win Karen's reinstatement.

The full support of Unison nationally should be given to Karen. If the trust bosses get away with this they will come for every union activist.

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In The Socialist 8 November 2007:

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