After being sacked for
whistle blowing and fighting for her rights Karen Reissmann has been elected to
the National Executive of UNISON. It’s a great victory, but there is still a
risk that Karen’s sacrifice and struggle will be in vain. Karen was offered a
financial settlement by her employers. When she declined to accept this,
(against advice from the union), the NW Region of the union withdrew her
funding. She is now appealing to the NEC, because she wants to fight to
get her job back.
Essentially if UNISON
doesn’t see the case through, it sets a dangerous precedent that won’t go
unnoticed by the employers. It would be much easier to intimidate and victimise
trade union activists, especially the best fighters.
Karen’s election to the NEC
shows that members recognise and support her struggle. The NEC should take the
As a letter on behalf of Karen to the Regional
“Karen’s case not only highlights the right to
speak out about cuts and privatisation, but is also about the defence of trade
unionism. These are important issues to many people.
We are writing to
ask you on behalf of UNISON to reconsider the decision to withdraw legal
support from Karen.
We should continue
to stand up and defend the right of NHS trade union reps to comment on government policy and
its impact on services. Karen wanted to prove to a court that she was unfairly
dismissed, and we support her in this. That would protect her and make it more
likely that she would be able to get a job back in the NHS in the future. It
would also be a reminder to all other NHS Trusts that they cannot sack trade
unionists for speaking out.
support from UNISON, it will be harder for Karen to continue pursuing her case.
The legal view on the merits of her case has not changed.
Karen has been
prepared to sacrifice a great deal in pursuit of the principles. We believe
that UNISON should continue to support her in this.”