Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Demand the reinstatement of Karen Reissmann

I cannot be at today’s lobby of Parliament in support of sacked nurse and UNISON member Karen Reissmann. I am very sorry about this as I know that a number of colleagues and comrades from around the country will be travelling to London for the lobby. However, I have done what I can do right now – which you, dear reader, can do too right now.

Go to the invaluable “write to them” site and lobby your MP to support Karen. First check if your MP is one of the 23 who have already signed Early Day Motion 443 in Karen’s support by clicking here. Here’s the message I’ve just sent to my MP:

“I am writing to you because I am not able to attend the House of Commons today to support in person a lobby of Parliament in support of a sacked trade unionist, my fellow UNISON member, Karen Reissmann, victimised for speaking out against privatisation of health services. Karen’s case has the full support of UNISON. I would like to urge you to sign Early Day Motion 443.

Early Day Motion 443, submitted by John Leech MP, calls for the reinstatement of Karen Reissmann, the UNISON member sacked by Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust in November 2007. Karen was suspended by the Trust on the 15th June 2007 accused of seriously
adversely affecting the reputation of the Trust and undermining their confidence in her as an employee. Further allegations were added at a later stage and a disciplinary hearing took place early in November 2007 where Karen was found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed.

The Early Day Motion states “That this House notes with concern the sacking of Karen Reissmann, Senior Practitioner Nurse, from the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust; is concerned that she was unjustifiably dismissed for speaking out against proposed changes to services which many staff believed would result in a worse service to patients; recognises the rights for all constituents to freedom of speech; to condemn Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust for disciplining Karen Reissmann for exercising her right; and calls upon Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust to reinstate Karen Reissmann with immediate effect.”

Privatisation of health services is rightly massively unpopular and the Government owes a debt of gratitude to trade unionists such as Karen Reissmann who are resisting this commercialisation of healthcare. Public servants – especially those who represent colleagues as lay trade union officials – must be free to speak out, particularly when in so doing they are speaking up for the best traditions of our labour and trade union movement and in defence of our greatest achievement, the National Health Service.”

Take a few minutes now - or when you can next take a break - and stick up for a dedicated trade unionist victimised for defending our Health Service!

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