Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Report to Greater London UNISON Branches - support Newham strike on 13 December - defend Karen Reissman

This is the text of a report I have made today to branches in the Greater London Region of UNISON;

I attended last night a meeting at the House of Commons at which I gained some useful information about official UNISON disputes from speakers directly involved in those disputes. I am writing to pass this information on urgently to branches in the Greater London Region.

Newham branch strike action 13 December

UNISON members in Newham local government branch are on strike tomorrow – as you may have seen on the Regional UNISON website. This strike is part of UNISON’s official dispute with Newham Council over the disgraceful sacking of Newham Branch Chair, Michael Gavan, for having undertaken trade union activities.

A rally will take place from 11.30am at the Hartley Centre in East Ham. The address is 267 Barking Road, East Ham, E6. It’s five minutes walk from East Ham Town Hall and ten minutes walk from East Ham tube, which is on the District Line.

This strike comes a day before UNISON’s claim for “interim relief” for Michael and I hope that anyone who can possibly be in Newham to support Michael and the Newham branch will do so. There can be no more important priority than support for a fellow trade unionist who has been victimised. If you can possibly cancel commitments in order to be there tomorrow please do.

Karen Reissman dispute

As you may have seen on the national UNISON website, the appeal against the dismissal of Manchester UNISON health service activist Karen Reissman was dismissed yesterday. I heard yesterday from two of the striking members of the Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch whose members are determined to secure justice for Karen and who have the full official support of UNISON.

I attach a motion adopted by a meeting of striking members of the Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch yesterday which I know that the strikers wish to draw to the attention of UNISON branches, and which sets out their views as to how the dispute should now be carried forward. (If any UNISON member would like to see a copy of the motion contact me at j.rogers@unison.co.uk).

You can keep up to date with the campaign at the campaign website as well as in the regular bulletins which are being sent out officially.

Finally, if you would like to read a report from yesterday’s meeting (which was not an official UNISON meeting) a report is available online.

Both Karen and Michael have been sacked for being dedicated and effective trade union activists and for pursuing UNISON’s policy of opposition to privatisation, I hope that all branches in Greater London will be considering how we can help and support our victimised activists.

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