Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/3823
Urgent Appeal: Victimisation of Trade Union Activist - Suzanne Muna
Suzanne Muna, elected secretary of the joint trade union representatives at the Housing Corporation, is facing unjustified disciplinary action that could lead to her being sacked. The complaint against Suzanne relates to a meeting last year in which she was representing a member over her working arrangements. The two managers present subsequently accused Suzanne of intimidating behaviour. The managers themselves confirmed that Suzanne did not make any physical threat or verbal abuse, did not raise her voice and did not use inappropriate language. The managers claim they were "intimidated" by Suzanne asking them for an explanation of their treatment of the union member she was representing.
This attack on a key trade union representative is part of a general management assault on union organisation in the Housing Corporation.
The Housing Corporation is a government agency that funds "affordable housing" and regulates housing associations. It is due to be replaced by two new agencies by April 2009. However, the chief executive of the new investment agency is trying to accelerate the process and the future conditions and pay of the 500 staff are under threat, as well as the redundancy terms for those whose jobs are relocated. Management are clearly trying to batter and weaken the trade union representation so they have a free hand imposing their "solutions".
The threat to Suzanne is the most serious attack to date, but it is the culmination of increasingly vicious attacks.
Suzanne has the full support of HC trade union members. At a packed meeting on 15 February, members unanimously expressed "unqualified support for our elected union representatives" and opposed disciplinary action being used to victimise Suzanne. The statement pointed out that management had skipped the first two stages of the disciplinary procedure (attempt at informal resolution and mediation) and took the unprecedented and "extreme act of employing an external private investigator to work on this".
Suzanne Muna's disciplinary hearing may take place in the next few days. We appeal to trade union activists and organisations urgently to send messages to the Housing Corporation protesting against the attempted victimisation of Suzanne Muna.
- Drop the unjustified disciplinary charges against Suzanne Muna.
- End management harassment and bullying of trade union reps and members.
- Respect trade union rights and negotiating procedures.
- Honour existing redundancy agreements for HC workers who do not want relocation.