Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 October 2008

Fight against the Unison witch-hunt

Pat Lawlor, a convenor at Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital, was expelled from Unison at a Belfast disciplinary hearing on 3 October. Pat is a convenor at the largest hospital in Northern Ireland and has a proud record of building union membership and strength.

A petition handed in at the hearing from hundreds of supporters demanding that he was not disciplined was disregarded by the disciplinary panel.

Pat faced a total of eight charges. In reality, this boiled down to two - one being him sending an email from his workplace in support of striking classroom workers. The other claimed that he had brought the union into disrepute. But most of the evidence produced for the hearing was actually attacking Pat for being a Socialist Party member.

The hearing itself inevitably went over the role of Unison during the classroom workers' strike last year. The smaller unions on the national negotiating body, including Unison, agreed to a compromise deal with the Northern Ireland Assembly. They outvoted NIPSA, the biggest union representing the majority, by combining their votes.

This has resulted in the creation of a two-tier workforce, with new starters earning on average 1,000 a year less.

Pat Lawlor had become a thorn in the Unison leadership's side, speaking against the deal from his position as a health convenor. This voice of dissent in the union will not be silenced by bureaucratic means.

The panel's decision creates a dangerous precedent. Anyone who campaigns for democracy in the union by criticising the leadership potentially faces the same treatment.

Letters and petitions produced by the 'Defend Pat Lawlor' campaign were used as evidence to throw him out. It is another move towards silencing any dissent within the union and a stepping up of the witch-hunt across the board.

Pat will challenge this absurd attack though an appeal, particularly since legislation in Northern Ireland allows challenges to discrimination on political grounds.

The campaign will now be stepped up. This further underlines the necessity of urgently transforming Unison's leadership in next year's national executive elections.

  • Messages of protest to: Dave Prentis, general secretary, Unison, 1 Mabledon Place, London. Messages of support to the Defend Pat Lawlor campaign at:, tel 07810522111.
  • Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

    In The Socialist 8 October 2008:

    Credit crunch

    Where is the bailout for us?

    Editorial: Casino capitalism's crisis continues

    Lessons of the 1990s recession in Japan

    House building hits new low

    Responsibility for the 'age of irresponsibility'

    Tories grasp at popularity

    Socialist Students

    Campaign to defeat fees!

    Students look for socialist ideas


    University workers fight pension attacks

    NUT strike ballot: Action on pay can win

    Socialist Party campaigns

    A day in the life of a care worker

    The sacking of Blair, London's police chief

    Socialist meeting blocked by councillor

    No to incinerators, give us a real say!

    Keep the Metro public!

    International socialist news and analysis

    Mbeki dismissed by ANC as South Africa's president

    Socialist Party workplace news

    "Telling the boss: You can't do that"

    Fight against the Unison witch-hunt

    Frustration with union leadership

    Another victory in Greenwich

    Workplace news in brief


    Home   |   The Socialist 8 October 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

    Subscribe   |   Donate  

    Related links:


    triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

    triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

    triangleSurrey County Council staff on collision course over pay freeze

    triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

    triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act


    triangleLivingstone's smear of Militant

    triangleThe Socialist Party and support for the Corbyn movement

    triangleSupport the campaign to readmit expelled socialists

    triangleThe Socialist inbox

    Northern Ireland:

    triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

    triangleWeakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn

    triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: The DUP, Northern Ireland, and socialism vs sectarianism


    triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'

    triangleEyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

    Reports and campaigns

    Reports and campaigns



    Justice for Tube cleaners demo



    Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


    Royal Mail

    CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike



    Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP



    Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish



    No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!



    Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


    John McDonnell

    Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation



    Join the Orgreave Halloween rally



    Workplace news in brief


    Democratic rights

    Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


    Northern Ireland

    Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs



    Too much to cross the Mersey


    Royal Mail

    Set for national strike action



    Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

    triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

    Join the Socialist Party
    Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
    Donate to the Socialist Party

    triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

    triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

    triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

    triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

    triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

    triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

    triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

    More ...

    triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

    triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

    triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

    triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

    More ...

    Socialist Party Facebook page
    Socialist Party on Twitter
    Visit us on Youtube



    October 2017

    September 2017

    August 2017

    July 2017

    June 2017

    May 2017

    April 2017

    March 2017

    February 2017

    January 2017




















    SP RSS feed RSS

    Platform setting: = No platform choice