Sign the petition here
The case against Unison for unfair discipline and expulsion of Socialist Party member Pat Lawlor as a result of his openly socialist beliefs is set to be heard for three weeks from the 22nd February 2010. The dates were set after discussions had taken place over several months between Pat and Unison’s legal representatives Thompson and McClure Solicitors with the final legal and factual issues agreed (See Below).
Unison members who knows Pat have said, “its a disgrace that this has gone so far, Pat has done nothing but defended Unison members….” and “the amount of members money that has been spent on this and continues to be paid to rich solicitors who have no real interest in unison members is disgusting……”
The Unison leadership would prefer to attack socialists to safeguard their position and then spent thousands of pounds of members money to hid behind a bank of overpaid legal usedcar salesmen. How much of member’s money has being forked out to highly paid solicitors and barristers members will never know; money that would be better used fighting for and defending unison members who are facing the biggest onslaught on their jobs, wages, terms and conditions?
In Northern Ireland the £700 million cuts to the NI health budget over the next three years is already having a devastating effect on frontline services, with the majority of these currently affecting acute services in the Northern and Belfast Trusts.
Workers and communities in Mid-Ulster have been told that the closer of the Surgical ward at the Mid-Ulster Hospital will seriously impact on inpatient treatment with the prospects of 230 job losses. In Belfast over 150 beds are being closed at the Royal Victoria and City Hospitals while all recruitment and the use of agency and bank staff are to be stopped, which puts further pressure on a workforce that is already at the point of breaking.
The Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and Trust Managers argue that frontline services will not be effected by the ‘efficiency savings’. However NHS workers are not easily fooled as the effects of chronic staff shortages, trolleys waits and malnutrition in over 20% of patients are witnessed everyday by frontline health workers.
The real reason that the National and Regional Unison leadership was intent on expelling Pat Lawlor; was because they did not want to allow the possibility of the seeds of opposition and trade union militancy to grow in one of the biggest Unison health branches in Northern Ireland.
The Socialist Party in Britain and Ireland has a long history supporting and leading workers in struggle and have been at the forefront of some of the largest illustrations of workers strenght seen in a decade. The Socialist Party has built strong roots amongst NHS workers in Britain and are developing a programme of action with many union activists, socialists and left organisations based on the demands of:
- Bring all health services into public ownership and rebuild the NHS as a publicly funded service free at the point of need.
- Remove the trusts, abolish the internal market, cancel the debts. Representatives of NHS workers, trade unions and health service users should make decisions about how the NHS is run and what its priorities are.
- Abandon the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). No more profiteering by construction companies and banks. All new hospitals to be built with public funding using direct labour and not for private profit.
- Nationalise the pharmaceutical industry and medical supply industry under working-class control and management to end the massive amount these parasites drain from the NHS. Integrate these services into a democratically controlled NHS.
- Cleaning, catering and other services should not be run for profit.
- A minimum wage of at least £8 an hour and a 35-hour week for all health workers.
- A socialist programme to eliminate poverty and inequality – the biggest killers and causes of ill-health.
It is clear that workers must fight for every reform and concession but the Socialist Party argues that this real change can not be carried out bit by bit, but can only be achieved by by the complete overthrow of capitalism.
Pat Lawlor as a member of the Socialist Party had begun to develop the nuclei of a base amongst health workers that was begining to put forward a truly socialist alternative within Unison. This was completely at odds with the beliefs of the Unison leadership.
The Unison leadership to the Northern Ireland Assembly is the same as the National leadership is to the Labour Party in Britain. It is clearly evident in Northern Ireland that rather that build an opposition and political alternative to the rightwing parties of the Assembly. The Unison leadership will allow themselves to be a buffer between workers and the N.I. Executive and will prop up the Assembly; dressing it up as support of the peace process.
The facts are that the UNISON leadership is a conservative force and will act as an obstruction on developing workers struggles in both the political and industrial arena.
Pat Lawlor is preparing to fight this attack on his socialist beliefs in February 2010 and is determined to expose the Unison leadership in the public glare of the Industrial Tribunal, illustrating that the national and regional leadership will stop at nothing including selling out Unison members to stay in control.
AGREED LEGAL & FACTUAL ISSUES FOR THE HEARING – 22nd February 2010
OFFICE OF THE INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNALS & FAIR EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL
Case Ref No 59/09 FET
Patrick Lawlor (claimant)
UNISON & Others (Respondents)
UNISON Public Service Union
Patricia Mc Keown Regional Secretary, UNISON
Lily Kerr, Fulltime Regional Officer, UNISON
Pamela Dooley Fulltime Regional Officer, UNISON
Raymond Rafferty Joint Branch Secretary, UNISON
Catherine Harte Joint Branch Secretary, UNISON
Conor McCarthy Joint Branch Chair, UNISON
Margaret McKee Joint Chair, UNISON
Brian Mc Cabe Branch Officer, UNISON
LEGAL & FACTUAL ISSUES
- A. LEGAL ISSUES
I am requesting that the tribunal to consider whether actions of Unison and respondents are deemed in breach of:
I. The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1995,
Article: 31, Right not to be unjustifiably disciplined.
Article: 38, Right not to be expelled from union.
II. The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (as Amended),
Article: 3, “Discrimination” and “unlawful discrimination”.
Article: 23, Vocational organisations.
- B. FACTUAL ISSUES
- I request that the Tribunal determine whether the complaints made against me by Unison The Public Sector Union and the named respondents of Unison, the Royal Hospital Branch Committee and Regional Office on and after November 2007, and the subsequent investigation into these complaints carried out by the NEC appointed Sub-Disciplinary Committee, and the actions taken against me up to and including my expulsion from Unison, constitute unjustifiable discipline, expulsion and discrimination on political opinion and membership of the Socialist Party are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- In determining this I further request that the Tribunal consider the following factual issues:
- Whether on or around 23rd Nov 2007, the introduction as evidence to the investigation by Unison The Public Sector Union, emails making clear references to my political opinion and membership of the Socialist Party showed the focus of any investigation carried out by the National Executive of Unison on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union was politically motivated.
- Whether Brendan McCarthy Full time officer for Unison acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union on the 30th Nov 2007 by making references to my political opinion and demanding that I resign or action will be taken against me shows the investigation and was politically motivated.
- Whether the letter Kevan Nelson Head of Unison Democratic Services sent on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union on or around the 2nd Dec 2007, unfairly disciplined and or restricted my rights by instructing me not to discuss the investigation with Unison officers and members.
- Whether the action of Mr Brendan McCarthy, full time officer of Unison, in verbally abusing me and making clear and derogatory references to my political opinion during a meeting held on 29th January 2008 in the RVH Unison branch offices on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union shows that the disciplinary action taken against me is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the conduct of the named respondents of the RVH Unison branch, who were present at this meeting, in allowing these remarks to be made without challenge shows that the actions taken by the branch officers against me are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether a branch meeting held on or around 1st February 2008 by the named respondents of the RVH Unison branch committee acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union sent a letter to the named respondents of the Unison regional office suspending me from my position as Unison nursing convenor shows that the actions taken on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union by the branch officers against me are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the failure of the named respondents in the Unison regional office acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union on or around 1st February 2008 to challenge the terms of the above letter, and therefore their de facto endorsement of the branch decision to suspend me confirms the involvement of said respondents in the disciplinary actions taken against me, which actions are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the letter allowed to be submitted as evidence from the named respondents of the RVH Unison branch committee by the NEC appointed investigator Bill Campbell on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union at the Preliminary Investigatory Hearing on the 5th Feb 200 at UNISON Regional Office Galway House; shows that the actions taken by some or all of the respondents against me are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the action of the named respondents acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union in allowing this letter of suspension to be submitted as evidence against me at the investigatory meeting held on 5th February 2008 represents a breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the counter picket held by the named respondents of the Unison regional office on 18th April 2008 acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union made unsolicited and blatant references to my political opinion and membership of the Socialist Party and to the assumed political opinions of others shows the involvement of the same regional officials in the disciplinary process and, as such, is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the verbal abuse by Brendan McCarthy acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union before and comments made by the respondents acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union about my political opinion being unwelcome in the branch made during a Royal Hospitals shop stewards meeting held on 22 April 2008 influenced the decision taken at that meeting to produce a document titled, “To All Unison Members” that made further derogatory statements about my political opinion and membership of the Socialist Party; resulted in a motion to suspend me from the branch. Whether that decision and my subsequent exclusion from branch and shop steward duties are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the named respondents acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union from the 22nd Apr 2008, obstructed me from carrying out my duties and responsibilities as the elected representative of unison, as far as it is known on at least three separate occasions in the Royal Hospitals. The first occasion was over the period between the 11th Sept 2008 and 3rd Nov 2008 as I attempted to represent unison members in ward 7A Royal Hospitals. The second occasion was over the period between 5th Oct 2008 and 8th Oct 2008 as I was representing unison members in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Royal hospitals. The third occasion was between the 21st Nov and 31st Dec 2008 as I attempted to represent unison members in Barbour Ward, Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Whether that decision and my subsequent exclusion from branch and shop steward duties are in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether opinions shows the true reasons for the disciplinary action taken against me and, as such the leaflet entitled “LAWLOR THE TRUTH” produced by the named respondents of the Royal Hospital Branch Committee and Unison regional office acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union, on or around 2 June 2008 and circulated around the Royal Hospitals which made derogatory comments about my character and made clear reference to my political opinion and membership of the Socialist Party, is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the refusal of the Disciplinary Sub Committee for the NEC acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union which met on 3rd October 2008 to hear evidence showing that the action taken by the Royal branch and regional office against me both breached Unison rules and was politically motivated means that their decision to expel me was unfair and is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the removal in Oct – Nov 2008 of the £50 per month and 6 hours per week facility time to provide services for the union branch in breach of unison rules, which was not part of any official expenses is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether the refusal of Disciplinary Sub Committee acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union that heard my final appeal on 8th January 2008 to hear evidence showing that the action taken by the Royal branch and regional office against me both breached Unison rules and was politically motivated means that their decision to confirm my expulsion was unfair and is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
- Whether in light of all of the above and the fact that other Unison members who I will submit as comparators as they have carried out similar actions to those that were given as the reason for my expulsion; but have faced no charges or extent of disciplinary action taken against me shows that the stated reasons for the disciplinary action taken against me and for my expulsion are not the real reasons and that I have been expelled.
- Whether in light of all the evidence I intend to submit that my dismissal, discipline and expulsion was because of my political opinions which are unacceptable to the national and regional officers of Unison and to the current officers of the Royal Hospitals branch acting on behalf of Unison The Public Sector Union is in breach of some or all of the articles of legislation listed above.
This was the statement used by Norma Stephenson, Vice President and Chair of the NEC Disciplinary sub-Committee Panel on the 3rd October 2008 in her justification for expelling Pat Lawlor.
Norma Stephenson used this statement as a refusal for the NEC Disciplinary Committee to hear evidence to the contrary, in fact the evidence that Pat lawlor was refused to submit during the NEC Disciplinary Hearing showed how the unison leadership at regional and national level had breached the very same rules that they accused Pat lawlor of doing.
During the investigation and subsequent expulsion, the highly political attack on Pat Lawlor’s socialist beliefs and his membership of the Socialist Party became ever more apparent, as it became clear the breach of rule that Pat Lawlor suposedly carried out was used as an opportunity for the Unison leadership to rid itself of a miltant, trade unionist, marxist and member of the Socialist Party.
One such event that illustrates the true nature of the leadership of Unison was during a dignified protest carried out at the Regional Office of Unison on the 18th April 2008. This protest by 5 unison members with support from 2 Socialist Party activists was to highlight the attack on Pat lawlor to other unison members attending a regional event.
The protest was dignified but buoyant giving out many leaflets to the attendees of the event. It then became apparent that a unison official Brian Mahaffy was taking the leaflets off people as they entered the premises.
Pat lawlor challenged him along with other supporters asking “why are you taking the leaflets of people, why are people not allowed information to make their own decisions”? Brian Mahaffy said “why are we picketing this event are you not aware this was for old people”.
The relevance of that statement by Brian Mahaffy became apparent when it was found out later that the picket obviously embarrassed the UNISON leadership; who were hosting a conference co-organised with the Belfast Health Trust and senior representatives of private companies on the role of the private sector in the NHS. It was clear that the unison leadership do not want it coming to light that they were working hand in hand with private companies, trust management and the local politicians on the implementation of private healthcare in the community. One of the speakers, Chris Manthorp was representing EPIC, a private company which runs private residential homes for the elderly in Britain.
It is a disgrace that UNISON leaders are championing what is in reality the privatisation of parts of the NHS!
Brian Mahaffy was told by protestors that the picket was to raise awareness of Pat Lawlor’s position and the attack on his rights as a unison member to the current and new members of unison at this event.
Brian Mahaffy returned inside the offices continuing to take the protest leaflets of the members and visitors attending the event. It was at this time that Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown and full time official Lily Kerr came out, it was obvious that they were incensed.
The first words from Patricia McKeown were “what makes you such a hero Patrick Lawlor”…. Followed up byLily Kerr with “what have you ever done for your members you little shit”. The protesters freely admitted they were astounded by this tirade of abuse. Pat Lawlor responded that he was elected and represent the members every day and was here to defend himself and his right of free speech. Pat Lawlor asked to know when she (Patricia McKeown) was elected she retorted “FUCK OFF”. Lily Kerr demanded “what political party we were from” attempting to rip the posters from the placards.
The unison activists with Pat Lawlor said “that they belonged to no political party and were here to support Pat” Lily Kerr called these activists “LIARS and that they belonged to the Socialist Workers Party”!!
Lily Kerr questioned the poster stating let the members speak, assuming that it referred to the classroom assistants dispute as she said “did not 1800 class room assistants in unison not get balloted”. Pat Lawlor told her “this was not about the classroom assistants, this was about unison democracy and the rights of members to criticise their leadership of which you are a disgrace to the union” Patricia McKeown shouted at Pat “its about the politics” Daniel Waldron (Socialist Party member) said “you know that you didn’t have 1800 members more like 800” this remark flew Patricia McKeown into a rage demanding “who the fuck are who”? When Daniel replied he was from the Socialist Party, Patricia McKeown screamed “GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY”.
Although the unison activists where disgusted and amazed by this abuse, foul language and hostility, some members attempted to discuss with Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr why they were there but Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr appeared not to be interested.
As Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr continued with the verbal abuse, Eileen Keenan (Unison Educational Member) stated “she couldn’t believe leaders in such high positions had such disregard for their members”. Grainne Lawlor asked Patricia McKeown “can I speak” to which Patricia McKeown shouted “I am here to shut you up”. Grainne said “that’s what you want to do to all unison members who criticise you”.
At this Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr were rescued by other full time officals and returned to the office while the protestors continued our peaceful protest. It was at this time that an official/employee from the office came outside with a placard that stated that
“THESE PEOPLE PICKETING THIS OFFICE ARE MEMBERS OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY”.
This was an attempt to discredit a legitimate protest by unison members in defence of their rights and as the members not associated to any political party criticised the truth of this poster to the holder, she said “LIKE I CARE”
The protest continued until 10am, with protestors leaving in an astonished but buoyant mood hardly waiting to return to workplaces to report the events that unfolded. This attack on the members had the opposite effect that the Unison leadership desired, they attempted to intimidate and bully the members but in fact re- enforced their conviction to rid the union of such a disgraceful, disgusting and rotten leadership.
The unmasking of the veneer of respectability from Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr had illustrated to those members that the Unison leadership will resort to any method to prevent a growing opposition to their control of the union. What was clearly evident to those unison protestors was the political attack on Pat Lawlor’s socialist beliefs and his membership of the Socialist Party.
The attack on Pat Lawlor’s politics shows the hypocrisy of the Unison leadership, as Unison are affiliated to British Labour party and David Prentis is a member of the Labour Party’s economy commission and joint policy committee. While the Unison Regional Leadership are building a relationship with the Northern Ireland Assembly Executive by continuing to lobby and court the political parties in the assembly in their pursuit of partnership.
This is the very same Executive who are demanding a decimation of the public sector.
It appears political affiliation or opinion is allowed in unison unless when it comes to the defence of workers in struggle.
Grainne Lawlor wrote a letter of compliant (See Below) to Kevan Nelson (head of democratic services) in unison demanding an investigation into the behaviour of Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr, to date Kevan Nelson has not mounted an investigation into these complaints.
RE: INCIDENT AT GALLWAY HOUSE
On Friday 18th April I attended an extremely peaceful and dignified picket outside Unison headquarters, Galway House, Belfast to highlight the issue of “Democracy in Unison” and protecting each and every members’ right to free speech. This was a response to the complaint against Patrick Lawlor.
This protest involved seven people with a few handheld posters and distribution of leaflets. No speeches were held and there was no chanting.
A gentleman came down from the office asked us what we were doing – we explained that we were handing out leaflets to illustrate our issue – we were not accosting people and they accepted them without bias. He seemed ok with this and went back inside.
I was astounded then, when Patricia McKeown (Regional Secretary), Lily Kerr and other ‘official’ staff arrived and hailed a tirade of abuse. Patricia McKeown’s first remarks were
“What makes you the hero, Patrick Lawlor”, while Lily Kerr started her launch with
“Who are you and what party are you from”, while pulling the backing of our posters and stating that
“you are members of the Socialist Party”.
When we corrected her on this point, Patricia McKeown’s tirade got worse and she yelled and screamed and used disgusting language in full view of the public. She completely undermined each and every member of Unison and the ideal it stands for. Lily Kerr went on to yell
“What have you ever done for your members, you wee shit” and yelled that this protest was about the recent classroom assistant strike. Pat Lawlor took up that remark and replied that it had nothing to do with that but in allowing the members to speak freely without fear of victimisation.
To have anyone speak to me or to my elected union representative in that tone was totally uncalled for. Personally I attempted to speak to Patricia McKeown to explain who I was and why I was there, she shouted over me, I raised my voice saying, “do you mind I was speaking to you” she then shouted me down with, let’s say a Freudian Slip
“Well I’m shutting you up” – while this was happening Lily Kerr referred to the classroom assistant’s strike stating that we were denying 1800 members their rights, when another supporter challenged her on these ‘facts’ Patricia McKeown yelled
“Who the fuck are you”. He stated quite honestly “I am a member of the Socialist Party:” She then yelled
“Then get the fuck off my property”.
Her behaviour and that of her cohorts brought Unison into disrepute more so than any email – with behaviour like that she should definitely be removed from her current position as she is a complete liability.
Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr started sneering
“It’s all about politics – it’s all about politics” Before leaving to go back inside. This is a very serious road to go down as I’m sure you are aware it is very much illegal to discriminate on persons’ political beliefs.
A short time later three Unison workers came out holding a ‘counter demonstration’ with a placard stating
“The people picketing this office are members of the Socialist Party”. Yes two of the group were but the rest were all Unison members in health and education. When I told them this, one woman said
“Like I care!”
We were only holding the picket between 9.30am and 10am. We gave out leaflets just to those who accepted them and did not force them on others. We would have left without fuss. When Patricia McKeown and Lily Kerr arrived and began their rant they made more people aware of what was going on – even the general public wanted leaflets!!
Their rant showed them up as vulgar, street fighters – with absolutely no dignity or self-respect.
I was astonished and kept repeating over and over how I couldn’t believe mature women in positions of relative authority would behave in this manner.
I would appreciate an unbiased reply to this complaint and to have this incident looked at on its own merits.
Royal Hospitals Branch
21st Sept 2007
Distribution of “SUPPORT THE CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS” leaflet around the Royal Hospitals by Pat Lawlor in support of striking workers.
23rd Nov 2007
Email of support for striking classroom assistants sent to Socialist Party Regional Organiser to be sent to workers on picket line.
28th Nov 2007
Pat Lawlor called to attend the Unison branch office by branch officers to discuss email.
30th Nov 2007
Pat Lawlor received phone call at home by Brendan McCarthy full time Unison office making reference to Pat’s political opinion and stating “it would be better for him to resign as action will be taken against him”.
2nd Dec 2007
Pat Lawlor received a letter of notification from Kevan Nelson (Unison democratic Services Unit) that a hearing was to be held to see if I had a case to answer.
5th Dec 2007
Pat Lawlor responded to Kevan Nelson by letter stating that demand for confidentiality would “contravene his right to seek advice and representation, as the complaint has a direct effect on the members he represented stating “I must tell you that I cannot in all fairness abide by your request. I believe in a member led union, the members have a right to full disclosure of the facts of the matter”.
6th Dec 2007
Letter to “ALL UNISON MEMBERS” from Unison Regional Officer in response to the NIPSA and in direct reference to the Socialist Party, she refers to NIPSA being “in the grip of a small political faction”
7th Dec 2007
Pat Lawlor sends an open letter to Unison Branch officers to be forwarded to the membership of the unison educational sector showing support for members in education.
6th Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor sends email to P Dooley Full time officer asking for clarification of status with the Royal Branch as Pat Lawlor was told that he had been suspended.
8th Jan 2008
Response from P Dooley by email that his status remained unchanged as unison convenor.
17th Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor submitted motion for Unison Branch AGM titled “BUDGET POSES SERIOUS THREAT TO PUBLIC SECTOR”.
22nd Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor approached by branch officer for the purpose of mediation, requested to tone down motion for AGM.
24th Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor Met with Branch officer in the Branch offices and discussed the issues of mediation. Pat Lawlor raised the issue of posters of support being taken down with branch officer who said he had taking one down under instruction from the regional office
25th Jan 08
Pat Lawlor received copy of the AGM newsletter in the post; the motion submitted was unrecognisable.
28th Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor contacted branch officer by phone requesting that his original motion be re-instated
29th Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor attended the RVH branch to discuss the issue of the motion for the AGM, meeting was attended by full time regional officer, branch officer and one other, full time regional officer verbally abuses Pat Lawlor and makes references to his political opinion.
30th Jan 2008
Pat Lawlor Received a phone call from branch office informing him “that an emergency stewards meeting was called for the 31st Jan 07”.
31st Jan 2008
After submission and complaint made by Pat Lawlor, emergency Stewards Meeting adjourned as in breach of Rule.
1st Feb 2008
Pat Lawlor contacted by branch office “that another emergency meeting had been called – letter requesting suspension sent to regional office”. At approx 14:00 Pat Lawlor spoke to branch officer directly, he was evasive over the re-play of the meeting, he stated that “he was forced to hold the meeting at the request of the regional office”; when asked who had personally told him to hold the meeting he refused to answer.
4th Feb 2008
Pat Lawlor called to the branch office to get copy of the letter of suspension, made verbal complaint to branch officer over meeting as it was in breach of rule.
5th Feb 2008
Pat Lawlor met his representative that evening for the NEC’s preliminary hearing to see if charges can be brought against Pat Lawlor on the 5th Feb 2008 Called to branch officer’s home as arranged to collect the letters of recommendation and proposed mediation.
5th Feb 2008
Preliminary Investigatory Hearing, UNISON Regional Office Galway House, Pat Lawlor raised issue of unconstitutional letter being allowed to be submitted as evidence and made formal verbal complaint. Attempted to find if mediation could resolve complaint, this was met with a negative response
12th Feb 2008
On the issue of the second emergency meeting in the RVH, Pat Lawlor spoke to branch officer about “how many stewards where currently in the branch”, she said that “ we had approx 40 some activists”.
13th Feb 2008
Pat Lawlor received a copy of the branch steward list, on counting the number of activists there were 65 stewards on the branch list making the meeting in quorate.
Tuesday 15th Apr 2008
Pat Lawlor went up NIC-ICTU conference at Portrush to raise the issue of investigation with ICTU delegates. Pat Lawlor got a warm response by many of the delegates present with many aware of his situation in unison.
18th Apr 2008
Leaflet and protest held outside Unison’s Regional Office, Gallway House Belfast, regional officers abusing Pat Lawlor and protesters and making references to the Socialist Party and political opinion of the protesters.
21st Apr 2008
Letter of complaint concerning behaviour of regional officers on the 18th Apr 2008 sent to Kevan Nelson by Grainne Lawlor.
22nd Apr 2008
At Unison monthly Steward Meeting RVH, Pat Lawlor suspended from branch, abused by full time officer before meeting, branch officers refer to Pat Lawlor’s political opinion verbally and in document titled “TO ALL UNISON MEMBERS”.
4th May 2008
Letter of complaint sent from Pat Lawlor’s representative to Branch officer’s in relation to his suspension and references made to his political opinion.
20th May 2008
At Unison monthly Steward Meeting RVH, Pat Lawlor obstructed from attending branch meeting.
2nd June 2008
Pat Lawlor received the leaflet under the heading, Lawlor: The Truth with derogatory comments made about his character and with references to his political opinion.
12th Aug 2008
Pat Lawlor’s name deleted from the list of convenors and shop stewards for the Unison Branch, email of complaint sent to Branch officers.
20th Aug 2008
Pat Lawlor received news that his brother was terminally ill with cancer, contacted Kevan Nelson to arrange an adjournment of the hearing. Pat Lawlor received a letter from the disciplinary panel that his request for an adjournment was denied.
27th Aug 2008
Pat Lawlor’s brother died quietly.
4th Sep 2008
Unison member informed Pat Lawlor that she had been told by her manager that the union branch did not recognise Pat Lawlor as a credited representative for unison.
3rd Oct 2008
Disciplinary Sub Committee for the NEC hearing refused to hear evidence showing that the action taken by the Royal branch and regional office against Pat Lawlor both breached Unison rules and was politically motivated. Pat Lawlor expelled pending appeal.
5th Oct 2008
While dealing with a nursing issue, unison member informed Pat Lawlor that a meeting had taken place with unison officers and Trust management without his involvement or knowledge in breach of union rule.
20th Oct 2008
While in contact with unison members in Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast over issues of health and safety and staffing levels, Pat Lawlor was contacted by senior manager who said that she would be dealing with another unison rep. Pat Lawlor contacted branch officer, who informed him that she had another unison steward, to deal with it without his agreement or knowledge and in breach of union rule.
Oct – Nov 2008
The Royal Branch removed the quarterly payment of £150 and 6 hours facilitated time to carry out unison duties afforded to Pat Lawlor as his right as the elected convenor for the Royal Branch in breach of union rule.
10th Nov 2008
Pat Lawlor sent letter of complaint to Kevan Nelson to pursue grievances of unfair dismissal, discipline, expulsion and political discrimination against Unison, Public Service Union; as theDisciplinary Sub Committee for the NEC hearing refused to hear evidence showing that the action taken by the Royal branch and regional office against Pat Lawlor both breached Unison rules and was politically motivated.
20th Nov 2008
While in contact with nursing staff in the Infant Surgical Unit, Royal Hospital for Sick Children over staffing levels. Branch officer circumvents Pat Lawlor legitimate role as nursing convenor, by getting another steward to attend meeting with managers without Pat Lawlor agreement or knowledge and in breach of unison rule.
29th Nov 2008
Pat Lawlor sent letter of complaint about Branch officers role in breaches of union rule to Kevan Nelson and concerning activities that unfairly dismissed and disciplined Pat Lawlor from his role as unison representative.
8th Dec 2008
Response from Kevan Nelson – complaint referred to P McKeown
16th Dec 2008
Pat Lawlor not invited to or made aware of branch officers meeting as his remit as nursing branch officer entitles him to attend.
5th Jan 2009
Pat Lawlor received letter stating L Kerr would be investigating officer for complaint against branch officers.
8th Jan 2009
The Disciplinary Sub Committee for the NEC Appeal hearing refused to hear evidence showing that the action taken by the Royal branch and regional office against Pat Lawlor both breached Unison rules and was politically motivated. The initial charges were upheld and Pat Lawlor was expelled from the union.
11th Jan 2009
Pat Lawlor Inform L Kerr that he had no confidence in a fair and just investigation being carried out and would seek legal remedy through the office of Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal and Office of Certification.
The public sector union, Unison expressed concerns on the limitations of Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill stating “UNISON is committed to achieving equality for all”.
UNISON, along with other trades unions and equality campaigners have publicly said that the proposals in the Bill are weak and are no more than a cosmetic exercise. Unison presenting equality as an embedded fundamental principle has responded to the Bill with a “…tailor made equality scheme to give activists the tools to embed equality in everything they do, systematically and consistently…”
Furthermore when reading Unison’s consultation draft for their equality scheme it certainly focuses on key equality features covered by anti-discrimination legislation such as age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion/political belief and sexual orientation.
On first appearances, Unison as a member of The Equality and Diversity Forum appears to be on the vanguard defending equality of treatment for all sections of the working classes. But this is the worst type of hypocritical self promotion as for Unison; equality does not begin at home.
The Unison leadership have no difficulty in politically discriminating against their own members if their control and power is threatened. This is clearly evident by the on-going two year politically motivated investigation against Unison members in Britain alongside Pat Lawlor’s ten month investigation and subsequent expulsion. There can be no coincidence that they are all members of the Socialist Party, who have continually fought for true democracy and accountable leadership in Unison.
During the Pat Lawlor’s investigation and expulsion, the Royal Branch leadership and unelected Regional Officers have had no concerns in undermining his rights for equality. They broke and bent branch and national rules while politically discriminated against him in an attempt to prevent him from representing the members who elected him.
This witch hunt against Socialist Party members and other left activists in Unison is driven by the fear of the National Executive’s deteriorating power base. The success of Socialist Party members in Unison’s up-coming NEC elections illustrates that many members are demanding an opportunity to reclaim Unison and build a truly accountable democracy.
All unison members who have suffered years of pay cuts and broken promises should now demand for a militant fighting union who will defend every job and public service.
Stop the witchhunt in UNISON
Defend union democracy
No to the expulsion of Pat Lawlor
Join the protest against Pat Lawlor’s expulsion
7 January – 9 am
22 Ormeau Avenue
Pat Lawlor, the Unison nursing convenor in the RHV, faces immediate expulsion from Unison.
Pat is accused of sending out an email criticising the Unison leadership for their failure to support striking Classroom Assistants.
Pat was elected by Unison nurses in the RVH who have made it clear that they want him to continue as their rep.
A small committee made up of people from England who have never set foot in the RVH – and who did not bother to consult Unison members there – have taken a decision to expel him from the union.
Unison is now the only union where criticising the leadership is an expellable offensive. Pat Lawlor’s expulsion is part of a general witchhunt against left activists which the leadership have launched in order to prevent opposition developing to their right wing policies.
The final stage of Pat’s expulsion will be a hearing on 7 January in the Holiday Inn, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. As far as the leadership is concerned the outcome is a foregone conclusion – they are determined to expel Pat.
Don’t let them get away with this.
Come along to the protest on 7 January at the Holiday Inn and show your opposition to Pat’s expulsion.
Build a democratic union that fights to defend the interests of members – join the Campaign for Democracy in Unison.
For further information contact Pat Lawlor on 07810522111
Or check out the Reinstate Pat Lawlor website: https://reinstatepatlawlor.wordpress.com/
Defend the Four Lobby of UNISON HQ London – video
Restore Democracy in UNISON
Re-instate Pat Lawlor
OPEN FORUM – 7.30pm Wed 3 Dec, Premier Inn, 2-6 Waring Street, Belfast
Download leaflet open-forum-nov08-colour_layout-2
Yet rather that standing up for the rights of all members and in defence of public services, the Unison leadership seem more interested in trampling on the democratic rights of members and witch hunting good activists from the union.
Health workers face the threat of 2500 jobs being axed over the next three years. We need strong unions capable of forcing the Assembly to reverse these cuts.
Instead of trying to strengthen its base throughout the Health service, the local Unison leaders have been putting their energies into expelling shop stewards like Pat Lawlor, Nursing convenor in the RVH who has been kicked out of the union for criticising the leadership.
Members feel let down on:
- Failed pay campaigns that end with the Unison leaders recommending cuts in real pay.
- Agreements with management on Agenda for Change issues reached behind members’ backs.
- Union reps backing up management rather than supporting members on individual grievances and disciplinary issues.
- Complaints about the role of unelected full time officials being ignored.
- Disciplinary action and expulsions from the union being used to silence criticism of the leadership.
It appears that the Unison officials are more interested in maintaining good relations with management than they are with representing members. We need a democratic union that fights on our behalf on jobs, pay and to defend public services.
Come along to the Open Forum to discuss how we can change our union.
IT’S TIME TO RECLAIM OUR UNION This is not an “official” UNISON event
For more info contact Pat Lawlor at 07810522111 e-mail: Lawlorsrus at aol.com
By Pat Lawlor, UNISON nursing convenor RVH Belfast (personal capacity)
Health service workers are now faced with massive job losses. As a result of these cuts, staff will be faced with an increased workload and will struggle to maintain a proper service to patients.
Yet, rather than gearing up to oppose job losses and fight cuts, the right wing leadership of Unison are busy conducting a witch-hunt against their own activists. Read the rest of this entry »
“Without Pat’s help and support I would have left the Royal, he represents what all trade unions should be.”October 27, 2008
What Unison members have to say about Pat’s expulsion Read the rest of this entry »