Dates set for Political Discrimination hearing – 22nd Feb 2010.

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

Between

Patrick Lawlor (claimant)

-and-

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

 AGREED

LEGAL & FACTUAL ISSUES

 

  1. 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.

  1. B.     FACTUAL ISSUES
  2.  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.
  3.  In determining this I further request that the Tribunal consider the following factual issues:

 

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4.   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.
  5.   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.
  6.  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.
  7.  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.
  8.  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.
  9.  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.
  10.  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.
  11.  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.
  12.  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.
  13.  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.
  14.  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.
  15.  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.
  16.  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.
  17.  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.
  18.  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.
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