The Socialist 13 September 2007 |
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TWO HUNDRED health-workers and supporters rallied on 9 September against Manchester Community and Mental Health Trust management. Foiled in their attempts to implement cuts and privatisation earlier this year, bosses are now victimising union activist Karen Reissman.
Hugh Caffrey, Manchester
Karen has been accused of "bringing the Trust into disrepute". But, as workers say, actions like suspending staff damage the NHS and its reputation.
Staff have taken six days of strike action to demand her reinstatement. Before the first strike, management demanded that the union agree to workers on strike going to work as normal.
As the strike was solid, patients were sent to private hospitals, as far afield as Darlington. At the rally, we heard that patients are still, three weeks later, cooped up hundreds of miles away when they could be accommodated in Manchester.
Throughout all of this, the trust chief executive has found time for two holidays at her second home in Dubai!
Management claim they have to make £3 million cuts this year to balance the books. The divisive trust system has beggared many parts of the health service, including community and mental health. But that's an argument for scrapping the trust system, not chopping services and hounding union reps.
The Unison branch is demanding Karen's reinstatement and an end to victimisation, while defending their right to fight cuts and speak out. We agree and say - all deficits should be cancelled immediately, the surplus in the NHS nationally and regionally should plug any outstanding or threatened shortfalls that would worsen the service. The NHS must be publicly owned, and democratically planned by staff and patients' elected representatives.
Only this can put an end to privatisation, to bureaucracy gone mad, and the lunacy of the trust and market system.
Send protests to: Chief executive Sheila Foley, firstname.lastname@example.org and copy to email@example.com Send donations: payable to "Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch Unison" c/o Union office, Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Road, M21 9UN.