For some time now, four prominent Socialist Party activists within Unison have been fighting against a concerted campaign to exclude them from the union’s political structures. Glenn Kelly, Suzanne Muna, Onay Kasab and Brian Debus are all members of the SP, and all have honourable records as comrades within the Labour movement. Finally, after a considerable battle, they were all banned from holding office within Unison due to absurd charges of “distributing offensive material”, in a shameful display of McCarthyite politics on the part of the union’s right wing.
Yesterday, the Unison hierarchy’s war against the four took a new and dramatic turn. I received the four’s latest newsletter (reproduced below) last night. It seems that there have been physical raids on the offices where the four work, including attempts on the part of officials to take hard drives and other information from those offices.
The writers of this blog do not always politically agree with the Socialist Party, but I think we would all recognise their members’ sincerity as socialist and progressive political activists, and also recognise the SP as one of the better elements on the UK left today. As such it seems only right to condemn this shameful attack, and to call on union members across the country to let the Unison leadership know what they think about this travesty of labour movement democracy.
DEFEND THE FOUR NEWSLETTER URGENT
DAWN RAIDS ON UNISON OFFICES!
BAN IMPOSED ON FOUR
Following the mitigation hearings Glenn Kelly (Bromely), Suzanne Muna
(Housing Association), Onay Kasab (Greenwich) and Brian Debus
(Hackney) have all been banned from holding any office in Unison.
Early this morning (5th March) UNISON officials turned up at the
UNISON offices of the Bromley, Greenwich and the Housing Association
having given no notice; we are awaiting an update from Hackney. The
officials have attempted to confiscate computer hard drives and other
resources, which include important documents on on-going personal
The officials intend to run elections for new branch officers but as
has happened in other branches they may well try to run the branches
themselves which has led to moribund UNISON branches.
The Four have conducted a determined and high profile campaign which
has meant that it has taken nearly 3 years to get them banned from
office. The mitigation hearings also concluded that the length of the
bans will be reduced by between 1 and 3 years.
However, this morning’s action shows the vicious reality of the UNISON
leaderships attacks on socialist activists within the union.
The four are urging supporters to phone or e-mail UNISON Head Office
now to protest against the ban and the raids of the branch offices.
What we need you to do:
1. Let as many unison members as possible know what is happening
2. E-mail letters of protest to:
- UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis: firstname.lastname@example.org
- UNISON London Region: email@example.com
3. Phone UNISON Head Office to express your disgust on 0845 355 0845
4. Pass a motion at your next meeting to be sent to Dave Prentis.
5. Funds are urgently needed for leaflets, publicity and legal costs.
Cheques payable to: ‘Stop the Witch-Hunt’ and should be sent to:
Defend the Four Campaign, PO Box 858, London E11 1YG.
6. Please let us know details of your protests – e-mail us at: