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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 September 2009

Unison witch-hunt - Defend the Four!

"This is a battle we must win; to reclaim the union for our members, to ensure we have a democratic and fighting trade union," said Glenn Kelly at a 100-strong meeting on 23 September called by the Defend the Four campaign. The 'four' are all Socialist Party members in the union Unison who have been declared guilty by a union disciplinary panel on trumped up charges. They have all been suspended from holding union office for a period of time.

Video: Defend the Four meeting to defend four Socialist Party unison members banned from office, photo Socialist Party

Video: Defend the Four meeting to defend four Socialist Party unison members banned from office, photo Socialist Party

Glenn, one of the four, spelt out why this politically motivated attack was launched: "Because we call for the election of union officials; for those officials to live on a workers' wage; for the union's members to decide when they take strike action rather than the officials."

"Some officials make Acas look revolutionary!" he remarked. In particular, he explained that the four were victimised because they had argued for the right of Unison conference delegates to debate important issues - such as the union's funding of the Labour Party.

"We hand dues to the Labour Party on Monday only to be given cuts and redundancies on Friday," he pointed out. As an accusation of racism was one of the fabricated charges against the four, Glenn said that the Unison leadership would do something about racist BNP members in the union if it really wanted to combat racism.

The four were also declared guilty of breaking union rules. Onay Kasab, another of the four, told the meeting that in fact it is the union leadership that is breaking rules, such as the rule to 'promote a member-led union' or 'to promote trade unionism'.

The four were joined on the platform by John McDonnell MP, who strongly defended the four's campaign, saying he would raise it in parliament. Unison's top bureaucracy is "a beast lashing out to protect its influence" he said. He went on to condemn the record of the Unison leaders: "Wage deals have been concocted at national level that have undermined the living standards of Unison members".

Speakers from the floor included members of London Unison branches who called for a resolution in favour of union democracy to be voted on at the next Unison regional council meeting.

The four will have appeal hearings against the guilty verdict during the autumn, and will have 'part two' of an employment tribunal related to their case. The campaign will be publicising these further events and is continuing to request that protest messages are sent to the Unison witch-hunters.

  • For more information see www.stopthewitchhunt.org.uk
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    In The Socialist 30 September 2009:

    Fight all council cuts


    Socialism 2009

    Socialism 2009: ideas to change the world


    International socialist news and analysis

    New right wing government, but success for the Left Party in Germany

    Kazakhstan: Socialist activist attacked by thugs


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    No to BNP TV platform


    Socialist Party workplace feature

    London postal workers: Big majority to stop funding Labour

    Unison witch-hunt - Defend the Four!


    Socialist Students

    Students ready to fight back


    Marxist analysis: history

    1949 - Chinese revolution


    International socialist news and analysis

    Honduras: Coup leaders step up repression

    Nepal - mass rallies back Prachandra


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Vestas workers fight on

    Leeds council workers' strike solid

    Management forced to retreat

    Mass rally in support of South Yorkshire firefighters

    Civil service compensation scheme: Thousands say no to cuts


     

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    Related links:

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    triangleThreat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

    triangleUnison national women's conference

    triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

    triangleLeeds college pay protests

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    Witch-hunt:

    triangleLivingstone's smear of Militant

    triangleThe Socialist Party and support for the Corbyn movement

    triangleSupport the campaign to readmit expelled socialists

    triangleThe Socialist inbox

    Labour Party:

    triangleNo fudge with the right wing

    triangleCarlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

    triangleCorbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war

    Racism:

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    triangleSweden: School strike against deportations

    Labour:

    triangleSave Salford nurseries!

    Socialist Party:

    triangleYork Socialist Party: Perspectives from the National Commitee

    Onay Kasab:

    triangleBallots against Bromley privatisers

    John McDonnell:

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    Glenn Kelly:

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