A statement from “Defend the Five” Campaign —
This campaign has been launched because of the attack by Unison’s leadership on four London branches and five officers of these branches.
The attack began at the June 2007 Local Government and National Delegate conferences when these branches sought to challenge why our conferences are constantly denied the right to debate issues because some see them as too controversial.<1--brak-->
The five officers under investigation are Glenn Kelly, NEC member and Bromley branch secretary; Onay Kasab, Greenwich Branch secretary; Brian Debus and Matthew Waterfall; Hackney branch chair and secretary respectively and Suzanne Muna, Housing Corporation branch secretary.
They are being investigated for producing and handing out a leaflet that complained about the above manipulation of the conference agendas.
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 cartoon of three little monkeys — “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. This is a widely used piece of established political satire to express a view of not being heard or listened to; it has no racist connotations.
The leadership’s attack has nothing to do with taking the issue of racism seriously, but everything to do with attacking branch officers who all have a track record of challenging the leadership and of fighting racism.
This attack is part of a wider attempt by the union leadership to clamp down the democratic rights of members and branches.
We call on all branches and members to oppose the undemocratic witchhunt on these five union activists and begin the fight to win real democratic control over our union.
More details, model resolutions etc:
Defend the Five Campaign, PO Box 858 London E11 1YG
Send protests to: The General Secretary, Unison, 1 Mabledon Place,
London WC1H 9AJ