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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 August 2010

Witch-hunted Unison activist wins tribunal

It is unusual for an Employment Tribunal ruling against an employer to represent at the same time a blow against a trade union, but that is what has happened recently at the tribunal in Newcastle.

Former Unison branch secretary Yunus Bakhsh was found by the tribunal to have been unfairly dismissed by the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, to have been treated detrimentally by the employer as a result of his trade union activities, and to have been discriminated against on the grounds of disability.

This damning indictment of the employer follows a long hearing, at which senior managers showed how devious and untrustworthy they could be.

The tribunal ruling says of one such witness: "He had acted during his dealings with the Claimant.... in an arrogant and hostile fashion and that came across to the Tribunal in the manner in which this witness gave evidence"; and of another: "The Tribunal was not impressed with the evidence from his witness as to the thoroughness or open mindedness of her investigation."

The impact upon Unison of this ruling arises out of the fact that Yunus Bakhsh has been expelled as part of the witch-hunt of left activists in the union.

Initially the union proceeded against him on similar charges to those for which he was dismissed, phoney allegations of bullying and harassment.

However, when he was able to demonstrate that his accusers had links with the British National Party, (Yunus is from an Asian background), these charges were quietly dropped, and others were pursued instead.

However, on the day of the employer's disciplinary hearing the Unison full-time official advised him to plead guilty.

When Yunus refused to do this the officer withdrew Unison support! This tactic was also employed against witch-hunted Socialist Party member Suzanne Muna in London.

Both of these witch-hunted activists are now better off for having ignored the advice of Unison officers when their jobs were at risk, which calls into question both the reliability and bona fides of such advice!

The allegations for which Yunus was expelled relate to financial irregularity, which asserts he needed access to his Unison office to gather evidence for his defence.

He was denied access as a result of his suspension by the employer, which the tribunal ruled was a detrimental act in light of his Unison position!

Throughout much of the witch-hunt proceedings Yunus was unwell, but requests for adjournments were usually ignored by the union.

Now that the tribunal has ruled that his condition was covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, there is a clear implication that this aspect of his treatment at the hands of Unison could also be discriminatory.

So the record of Unison in this case is a disgraceful list, including colluding with racist sympathisers against an Asian union activist, giving advice that would have resulted in his being unable to challenge unjust treatment by the employer at the Employment Tribunal, taking advantage of his victimisation by the employer on the basis of trade union activities to expel him from the union, and failing to recognise and act upon a situation covered by the Disability Discrimination Act.

What a dirty business this witch-hunt is!

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In The Socialist 4 August 2010:

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