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Karen Reissmann sacked from NHS for campaigning against cuts

Dove | 07.11.2007 04:24 | Health

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

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. Or if you want a speaker at your next union meeting please contact us on or 07972 120 451.