Witch-hunting in Unison?

From The Socialist:

Unison witch-hunt: Defend the four, come to the lobby!
The four Unison members under attack from their own union leadership had their disciplinary hearings postponed to 14-16 May. Please support the lobby of the hearings (see below).

In June last year the Unison bureaucracy launched a disciplinary investigation into five union officers. This was for daring to print and publish a leaflet attacking the union leadership’s blocking of the union conference’s right to debate issues such as the funding of the Labour Party, the election of fulltime officials and control over strike action.

Despite the leaflet making no derogatory remarks about any individual member of the standing orders committee, the former president announced an investigation and then allowed and supported an unsubstantiated and unjustified attack of alleged racism without giving the branches the right to respond.

The leaflet used the well known Buddhist proverb and cartoon of ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’.

Four of the five under investigation – all Socialist Party members – are now facing the 14-16 May disciplinary hearings. These are – Glenn Kelly, NEC member and Bromley branch secretary, Onay Kasab, Greenwich branch secretary, Suzanne Muna, Housing Corporation branch secretary and Brian Debus, Hackney branch chair.

All four have a proud record of standing up for their members and leading struggles against their employers and are fully supported by their branches.

The union leadership should be putting their effort into leading a struggle for a decent wage rise and not witch-hunting hard working and respected branch officers.

This is not just an attack on these four. Other activists and branches who stand up to the leadership and challenge decisions have also been disciplined.

All supporters are urged to attend a lobby on 14 May from 8.30 am at the London Hilton Metropole Hotel, 225 Edgware Road, London W2 1JU. Please bring placards and banners.

You can also support the four and defend union democracy by:

Making a personal donation, cheques payable to ‘Stop the witch-hunt’. Please send to: ‘Defend the Four Campaign’ PO Box 858 London E11 1YG.

Signing the petition or letter to show your opposition. The appeal for funds, petition, and letter are all on the website:

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas has humourously condemned the witch-hunt:

“I know Onay Kasab – Kas. I have had the privilege of working with him on the Ilisu Dam Campaign and on the issue of trade unionist deaths in Colombia. To accuse him of being racist is utter stupidity and madness. If using the image of three monkeys is racist then Gandhi is racist, Steve Bell and every working cartoonist for the past fifty years working in every continent are racists…those who brought this charge need to take a lie down in a quiet room, possibly with whale music playing and get a rest or they need to acknowledge their actions are motivated by other factors.

I know for a fact Kas is a dedicated and hard working union member who puts in remarkable time and energy. He exemplifies the very best traditions of trade unions, tireless, principled and open to debate, willing to fight for what he believes in but always ready to listen to other points of view.

Kas is happier to form an alliance than make an enemy over petty sectarian issues or spiteful office politics. If Kas is disciplined for having the audacity for asking for debate… a terrible crime I have to confess, after all what is trade unionism but abject obedience… Unison will be the loser, trade unionism will be the loser and the winners will be the Sun, the Mail, the spiteful hacks who will scream ‘political correctness gone mad’, the winners will the forces of conservatism (as David Blunkett said), the winners will be the right wing. Kas describes the actions against him of being a witch hunt… will there be an investigation into the use of the word ‘witch’ , after all this is a word that has gender bias inherently within it, witches were burnt for their gender and women have been accused of being witches in negative contexts for centuries… I demand justice, stop the use of the word ‘witch-hunt’!”


One Response to “Witch-hunting in Unison?”

  1. Leftwing Criminologist Says:

    I did like that Mark Thomas piece – although the ending was a little weird

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