Photo: Paul Hanes

Campaigners back Charlotte Munro – a trade unionist sacked for highlighting cuts to hospital services at Whipps Cross hospital in comments to the Waltham Forest health scrutiny committee

Campaigners gathered in the freezing cold on Monday 19th January to support Charlotte Munro, an occupational therapist, in taking Barts NHS Trust to an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal. She was sacked after her address to the Waltham Forest health scrutiny committee (in her capacity as Unison rep), in which she queried planned cuts to hospital services at Whipps Cross hospital, part of Barts NHS Tust.

Barts managers subsequently sacked her for ‘bringing the trust into disrepute with “inaccurate” information’She was dismissed by the Trust on 4th November 2013 following a disciplinary process.

The cuts involved the merging of two stroke wards and the closure of nearly a third of the beds and a small specialist gym for stroke patients. Also, because of Barts’ enormous PFI debt and in order to save money, 1,000 jobs were to go, with many staff downgraded.

Ms Munro has worked for the NHS since 1987 and has been an

active trade unionist for many years, representing workers at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone as staff side chair and Unison branch chair. She has won many awards for her work, and has been praised as one of Whipps Cross’ greatest champions.

Dave Prentis (General secretary of Unison) has given Charlotte full support from Unison:

“Unison is supporting Charlotte in taking Barts NHS Trust to an Employment Tribunal claiming that she was unfairly dismissed by the trust.

“No employer should be allowed to act in this way. No NHS Trust can afford to lose such experienced and committed staff.

“We call on the trust to reconsider its decision to dismiss such a long serving and valued health service worker and union official, and to recognise the impact this has on the wider workforce morale and the reputation of the trust.”

The campaign to support Charlotte Munro is part of the wider campaign to oppose the intimidation and culture of fear that has been created in work places and the bullying of trade unionists as an attempt to silence NHS staff and their representatives.

A crowd of supporters remained outside the building as the tribunal got under way, chanting loudly in support of Charlotte, and listening to speeches by representatives from unions and campaign groups:

Newham TUC, Haringey TUC, redbridge TUC, hackney KONP, newham KONP, Save Our Surgeries, Unite Community, Save Lewisham Hospital, Unison Tower Hamlets and No to PFI.

The tribunal will continue in March.

Ellen Graubart

Ellen Graubart was born in India of American parents and came to London from Virginia as a teenager to study art. She lives and works as an artist in Hackney. She is a member of Counterfire, Stop the War and Hackney Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

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