Monday, April 06, 2009

Supporting Stalin against SOAS

I was pleased that I was able to get along at lunchtime today to SOAS (that's the School of Oriental and African Studies) for the protest ahead of this afternoon's appeal against the dismissal of Jose Stalin Bermudez, victimised UNISON Branch Chair.

There was an impressive turnout given that the appeal was - unfortunately from a trade union point of view - taking place during the academic holidays. The strong showing reflected the strength of feeling about this case.

It is to be hoped that the SOAS appeal panel will see sense and reinstate Stalin. However speakers with knowledge of the organisation did not encourage optimism on this point.

I was therefore very pleased by two things that I heard at the lunchtime rally. First, UNISON Branch Secretary Sandy Nicholl was able to report that UNISON members will be balloting for strike action.

Secondly, the solidarity speaker from the students union said that, whilst they had respected the confidentiality of the process hitherto, if the appeal was not upheld they would provide full details to the student body. Student solidarity could be vital.

It is vitally important in cases such as this (of which I fear there will be more) that our response as workers is not limited to what seems to be legally or procedurally possible. If we want justice we must be prepared to fight for what is right.

SOAS need to understand that if they do not deliver justice for Stalin they will attract a new name as the Shabby Organisation Attacking Staff...

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