Wednesday, September 19, 2007
By all accounts the recent TUC Conference was one of the biggest yawnathons in living memory – grey men in grey suits boring each other to death. In 2006 28.4% of the workforce were trade union members, the largest fall since 1998. Only one in six private sector workers belonged to a union.
Millions of people believe in the principle of union organisation. Why don’t they join? They think that unions are ineffective and secondly they are worried about victimisation.
The ‘Reinstate Karen Reissman!’ website makes interesting reading-
On Friday 19th June, Karen Reissmann, a psychiatric nurse of 25 years, was taken out of an important meeting with a vulnerable client on the direct orders of managers of Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust. She was suspended due to her long history of UNISON involvement and vociferous opposition to cuts in services - formally, this was described as "engaging in activities which have seriously affected the reputation of the Trust" and "...no longer having confidence in her as an employee". The third allegation relates to a possible misuse of her time. Karen is still in the dark as to what this relates to, but like most nurses working for MMHSCT, continually works longer than her contracted 37.5 hours per week!
It is worth noting that Karen was promoted to the post of Senior Practitioner on the very same day she was suspended - So much for the Trust having no confidence in her as an employee!
Karen has a long history of making comments to the press, opposing cuts in service, opposing the marketisation of the NHS which is increasingly being fragmented and privatised and speaking out about the consequences of this.
The same happened in teaching, Birmingham NUT school rep Eileen Hunter was sacked when she spoke out against the repressive behaviour policies her school was implementing. She was summarily sacked, the national leadership of the NUT responded in the time-honoured fashion by – sending a stiff letter to ‘The Times’. Bet that left the head quaking in his boots!
87% of Karen’s Unison members voted to take strike action. To date the TUC haven’t exactly busted a gut to support the campaign.
Free speech? That’s why this blog is anonymous!