Wednesday 14 November 2007

Reinstate Karen Reissmann

I've just got home from an amazing solidarity rally which packed the main hall in Manchester's Mechanics' Institute.

People from UNISON, UNITE, NUJ, CWU, FBU, NUT, Military Families Against the War, Stop the War Coalition and even the Liberal Democrats spoke out demanding the reinstatement of Karen Reissmann, the UNISON branch chair and local nurse who has been sacked for speaking out in defence of the NHS. Some of the most powerful speeches, however, came from users of the mental health services themselves.

If you want to grasp the full absurdity of the sacking, you can do no better than to read Mark Steel's column in today's Independent "You can't go round telling people you've been sacked".

While her staff are on strike and the trust is in crisis, its Chief Executive, Sheila Foley, has nipped off to her holiday home in Dubai. Let's just say the PR team she has just hired have a tough job on their hands. It speaks volumes that while Karen and her branch have had to fight off penny-pinching cuts (people were even on waiting lists to be sectioned due to lack of beds), the trust is prepared to pay for PR and hire 20 private beds for the duration of the dispute.

1pm, Saturday 24th November
Peace Gardens, St Peters' Square, Manchester (by the town hall)
Bring banners & friends

Other Ways To Help
a) Send an email protesting to Sheila Foley, Chief executive of Karen’s trust on and copy to her union branch
b) Write to Alan Johnson, secretary of state for health on
c) Send a donation to strike hardship fund (cheques payable to "Manchester Community and Mental Health UNISON") to UNISON Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch, c/o union office , Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9UN
d) Bother your councillors. Did you know that the trust is partly funded by Manchester City Council, and that two councillors (Martin Pagel and Anthony Burns) sit on the trust's board?

More Information
See or
There are now even campaign groups on Facebook and MySpace.

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