Monday, 5 November 2007

Karen Reissmann - sacked

Manchester nurse and UNISON activist Karen Reissmann was sacked today - for speaking out against cuts and "reforms" (i.e. making things worse) in the NHS.

There has already been a magnificent campaign for her reinstatement during her suspension, including strike action.

The fact that Karen was victimised for speaking out should send a shiver down the spine of every trade unionist, every journalist, and everyone who cares about our NHS. Once the shiver has passed, we should all get stuck in to supporting the campaign for her reinstatement.

150 members in her health trust will be on indefinite strike from Thursday, demanding her reinstatement. They will need massive moral, practical and financial support. You can download a leaflet and collection sheet - please use them.

What does it say when a trust behaves so badly that nurses are prepared to go on strike? What does it say when the NHS (under a "Labour" government) sacks a trade unionist for doing her job?

I have a particular interest in this campaign, having known Karen as a local activist for many years, and having held joint rallies and activities when we were on strike at the same time earlier in the year.

If you're in Manchester and want to show your support, I expect picket lines will be from around 8am each day at:

  • North Manchester General Hospital, Delaunay's Road, Crumpsall, Manchester
  • Manchester Royal Infirmary
  • Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Road, Chorlton Cum Hardy, Manchester, M21 9UN

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Update from Manchester TUC:

On Monday November 5th Karen Reissmann, CPN and UNISON branch chair was sacked on 4 counts.

Firstly that, when she was interviewed in December
2006 criticising the transfer of NHS work to the voluntary sector, she brought the Trust into disrepute.

Secondly, for telling people that she was suspended and what for.

Thirdly, for protesting her innocence.

Fourthly, for allowing the press to print information, some misleading
about her case.

The fifth charge of misusing time was dropped. All the charges were gross misconduct and all sackable offences.

UNISON believes this is an absolute disgrace. Union reps must have the
right to campaign against cuts and victimisation of our trade union
reps. The Human Rights Act brought in by the Labour government allows
for freedom of expression. Karen works in the NHS, in 2007, in Britain not Burma – she must have the right to speak out without fear of persecution. If she remains sacked it will make all NHS staff and all trade union reps feel much more cautious about saying anything.

UNISON is determined to fight for Karen's reinstatement. 150 members of her branch who work in community mental health teams and crisis
resolution teams will start an indefinite strike from Thursday 8th
November as part of that fight. There will be picket lines from 8am to 11am at North Manchester General Hospital, MRI Hathersage Rd, and
Chorlton House. On Thursday strikers will then meet at 12noon to organise their next activities and march to the strategic Health
Authority at Piccadilly.

In 2 weeks we will have a branch wide one-day strike.

We also hope to have a solidarity rally on Wednesday 14th November in
Manchester in the early evening, details to follow.

We also plan a Saturday demonstration in Manchester, probably 24th Nov.

We expect to be able to pay very substantial hardship pay to all
strikers and will be sending delegations of strikers around the country to speak to other trade unionists and raise money. Already we have had significant promises of money from a number of branches eg Pennine have promised £2000 a month.

If you want to make a donation please send to "Manchester Community and Mental Health branch UNISON" c/o union office, Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9UN. If you want a speaker at your next union meeting please contact us on or 07972 120 451.