We are supporting the following statement and campaign. Defending and expanding workers’ and trade union organisation in the NHS is both good in itself, and vital to saving the health service.
Charlotte Monro, an Occupational Therapist in the NHS for 35 years, was dismissed last year over trade union activities. Her Union UNISON is supporting her to take her case to employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal.
Concern is growing at a trend by employers to try to silence effective trade union representatives who challenge cuts in the public sector. A culture of bullying and a climate where staff feared consequences if they spoke out was revealed in a CQC inspection of Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest in the country. It is Barts Health that dismissed Charlotte.
We ask you to sign the petition and pass it on as widely as possible. We have to roll back this culture of diktat within the NHS – a culture that is not compatable with care.
In a climate where NHS budgets and services are being cut and contracted out to the private sector, the importance of staff and staff representatives being free to speak out to maintain good quality patient care has been clearly demonstrated by events at Mid Staffs hospital.
Charlotte was sacked over speaking to elected councillors at scrutiny committee about cuts to patient services in her role as a trade union representative, and for liaising with staff affected by proposed changes and job losses, again as a trade union rep. Part way into the disciplinary process, her employers then included a new allegation: that she had failed to declare protest-related convictions from the 1960s and 70s when starting her job 26 years ago.
She has been Chair of her Unison Branch for many years and Staff Side Chair at her hospital Whipps Cross. When Whipps was threatened with closure several years ago she took a leading role in a successful campaign to save it, for which she was later given an award by the Trust Board of the time.
The tribunal is from 23rd to 26th September.
For more information see Links: Save our NHS East London and Save Lewisham Hospital