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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 April 2008

Fight back against the Unison witch-hunt!

Four members of Unison who are also Socialist Party members are to face a Unison disciplinary hearing following the distribution of a leaflet at last year's Unison conference.

Jane James

Five were investigated but only the four Socialist Party members are to face charges. The hearing will take place over three days from 22-24 April.

The leaflet was in response to the Standing Orders Committee rejecting nearly a third of submitted motions and thereby blocking conference's right to debate such issues as funding the Labour Party and the election of full-time officials.

The union is alleging that the leaflet gave racist offence, but they now accept that there was no racist intent. This was the original accusation, on the pretext that the leaflet contained a cartoon of the three wise monkeys. But the four are being charged with attacking the integrity of the Standing Orders Committee and for distributing the leaflet. This is an outright threat to democracy if members and branches cannot campaign against union decisions.

The four are: Glenn Kelly, Unison national executive council member and Bromley council branch secretary, Onay Kasab, Greenwich council branch secretary, Brian Debus, Hackney council branch chair and Suzanne Muna, Housing Corporation branch secretary.

All four have a proud record of anti-racism, of standing up for their members and leading struggles against their employers and are fully supported by their branches.

If the union leadership had invested as much determination and time in leading struggles to improve their members' pay and conditions as they have in witch hunting activists in the union, then members may have won a decent pay deal last year and there would have been a real battle to defend the NHS.

Nearly a third of motions were ruled out at last year's conference. This year 48% have been ruled out!

When these attacks have been explained at union meetings, members are shocked and angry, resulting in protest motions and letters being sent to the union.

Meetings and rallies are being organised to defend the four, as well as leafleting and petitions.

This is not just an attack on these four. Other activists and branches who stand up to the leadership and challenge decisions have also been disciplined.

A message is being sent out - if you stand up to and challenge the leadership and lead battles against Labour's policies then be prepared for being witch hunted.

If you are a member of Unison and oppose the witch hunt then arrange for one of the four to speak at your next union meeting. Check out the website www.stopthewitchhunt.org.uk for more information.

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


In The Socialist 2 April 2008:

End Labour's 'them and us' society

Capitalism gambles with our lives

Editorial: For a 35-hour week with no loss of pay


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Victory shows campaigning can save out NHS!

"Halve your expenses and save our post offices"


Environment

The devastating effects of biofuels

Airports: Expanding profits at our expense


Socialist Students

ID cards: No to students being used as guinea pigs!

National Union of Students rejects constitutional changes


Workplace news and analysis

Fight back against the Unison witch-hunt!

Jaguar/Land Rover: Uncertain future for workers

Tube workers strike to defend network safety

Shelter staff ask for support

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Teachers vote to strike

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Marxist analysis: history

1848: year of revolution


International socialist news and analysis

USA elections: Break with the two parties of big business!

Kazakhstan socialist jailed for protesting


Socialist Party review

From Russia: French and Russian master paintings 1870-1925 from Moscow and St Petersburg


 

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