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Yunus Bakhsh
February 27, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Yunus Bakhsh a Trade-Unionist Whistleblower at Northumbria Tyne and Wear NHS Trust was fired after a letter was circulated to the management stating that he "had bullied and intimidated other workers. " [Warning: most links are to the Socialist Worker website]

Bakhsh Took the case to an industrial tribunal and, after 5 years won his case. On his first day back at work, with a court-order backing him and ordering his re-instatement, he was turned away from work.

Bakhsh claimed his accuser was a member of the BNP, and there appears to be evidence that this is true.

The issue has been covered in Private-eye in some detail in their "in the back" section, previously edited by the late Paul Foot.

He even got into an argument with his union Unison and this is their statement.
posted by marienbad (27 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unfortunately I cannot supply links to the Private-Eye material as it is not online. The best I could find was this browser-killing PDF scan of one of the "in the backs" featuring an article on Mr Bakhsh.

Private Eye website is Here.

(There were some Excellent Cartoons this fortnight.)
posted by marienbad at 9:05 AM on February 27, 2012


Why do we need to be warned that the link is to a socialist paper? What if the story appeared in The National Review or Wall Street Journal? Would we also be warned?
posted by Postroad at 9:19 AM on February 27, 2012 [21 favorites]


Turned him away in writing after the reinstatement order? My oh my. It's not often that I say that UK employment law demands popcorn but take it from me, this one does. That's going to be *really* expensive. Plus he's got the SWP on side (a dubious benefit) and Unison are going to be making really sure that they don't repeat the back the racist decision.

Bonus points: for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 employment tribunals count as courts. Turned away in breach of the order. In writing. From the head of HR. She really isn't very good at her job.

Also you are aware your "see here" link goes to a white supremacist website, right? I thought I should just flag that up for people. It's a BNP support site.
posted by jaduncan at 9:23 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that the NHS is so determined not to have this person under their employee in combination with the fact that the guy can't even keep his own union on his side (and was fired by said union) suggests to me that this is one of the few cases where it is entirely appropriate to fire someone and keep them fired.
posted by saeculorum at 9:35 AM on February 27, 2012


[Warning: most links are to the Socialist Worker website]

Oh, it's a trigger warning for rich people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:36 AM on February 27, 2012 [16 favorites]


Why do we need to be warned that the link is to a socialist paper?

I came in here to ask the same thing, but upon further thought I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that socialist sites in general are either blocked or triggers for "corrective" action, such as that on display in this story.
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's going to be *really* expensive.

According to the PDF scan, which is dated after the Trust refused to accept back Bakhsh, £ 250,000 expensive, still leaving Bakhsh out of cash.
posted by Skeptic at 9:41 AM on February 27, 2012


The fact that the NHS is so determined not to have this person under their employee in combination with the fact that the guy can't even keep his own union on his side (and was fired by said union) suggests to me that this is one of the few cases where it is entirely appropriate to fire someone and keep them fired.

Yeah, except that he's won his case in court, with some choice words from the judge about the Trust's behaviour.
posted by Skeptic at 9:43 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


marienbad can elaborate but I assume it was a warning that most of the articles would be reflecting the same slant. Hence the inclusion of the last link.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:45 AM on February 27, 2012


As saeculorum said in actual words, I'll paraphrase by saying that the "insufficient evidence from not-spotlessly-unbiased-sources" subroutine of my bullshit meter is sounding a mild alarm.

I don't know about Unison, but here in the U.S. unions do things like get violent criminals their jobs - as cops - back. (crocodiledundeevoice "That's not a union! This is a union." /crocodiledundeevoice)
posted by Xoebe at 9:47 AM on February 27, 2012


Skeptic: the NHS is betting a significant amount of money (£1m per recent estimates) that the court/tribunal is wrong or that Yunus will give up eventually. Companies (even nationalized health care organizations) don't do that for the hell of it or to screw people over. The organization does it because they either don't want to set a precedent or they really really don't want that person employed. I don't know what the precedent to be established here is (I don't think the NHS simply wants to ignore *all* employment tribunal rulings), so I have to assume it is the latter. There's nothing inherently evil/immoral about a business ignoring a court order, it's just really risky for them and often incurs significant financial penalties. I don't think the NHS would face that cost for no reason whatsoever.
posted by saeculorum at 9:47 AM on February 27, 2012


"Also you are aware your "see here" link goes to a white supremacist website, right? I thought I should just flag that up for people. It's a BNP support site."
posted by jaduncan

Thanks for that warning jaduncan. As I mentioned, it was the 4th link, so threw it in to offer a different perspective, but was unaware it is a BNP support site. If a Mod wants to remove it then I would be ok with this.

Re: Socialist worker warning - well some people might be browsing at work and not want that site in their companies logs.

"suggests to me that this is one of the few cases where it is entirely appropriate to fire someone and keep them fired."
posted by saeculorum

So anyone can be fired on false evidence concocted by a racist just because they represent workers interests? Also re Unison, this is from the link above:

"Why have UNISON members involved in the case brought by the employer been given union support?
Mr Bakhsh complains that witnesses against him in the employer’s case were provided with a full-time officer as support. UNISON stewards are entitled to full-time officer support if they have a problem at work and all members have the right to be accompanied in any situation where their employer calls them to a hearing; this can also include in certain circumstances those members that are called to attend as management witnesses."

They stood up for a BNP racist against Mr Bakhsh. Well Done Unison.
posted by marienbad at 9:58 AM on February 27, 2012


Oh, it's a trigger warning for rich people.

Or for one of the nine other left tendencies that hate Trots/the Socialist Workers Party's particular sub-flavor of Trots even more than they hate actual capitalists.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:59 AM on February 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


saeculorum I also do get very strong vibes that Bakhsh must be a really difficult individual. Thing is, even complete douchebags have rights, and this increasingly looks like the management trying to cover their previous mistake by engaging an individual in an expensive legal war of attrition.

This seems pretty immoral not just because they can draw upon resources that are several orders of magnitude higher than those of Mr. Bakhsh, but because those resources were actually entrusted to them for taking care of sick people, not for hounding unpleasant, loudmouth, bolshy former unionists.

In fact, considering that the £1M they are gambling could save quite a few lives, one could actually argue that their choice would only be justified if Mr. Bakhsh was a serial murderer.
posted by Skeptic at 10:15 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The BNP and the Socialist Workers Party are both extremist groups - opposite sides of the same totalitarian coin - but one of these extremist groups is kosher on left-leaning Metafilter and the other is not.

IMO, they are both in the category of child pornography and I ain't following any of those links.
posted by three blind mice at 10:27 AM on February 27, 2012


Or for one of the nine other left tendencies that hate Trots/the Socialist Workers Party's particular sub-flavor of Trots even more than they hate actual capitalists.

SPLITTERS!


The BNP and the Socialist Workers Party are both extremist groups - opposite sides of the same totalitarian coin - but one of these extremist groups is kosher on left-leaning Metafilter and the other is not.

Moderates, ladies and germs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:28 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


IMO, they are both in the category of child pornography and I ain't following any of those links.

Parody so subtle it doesn't even know it's parody yet.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:33 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Moderates, ladies and germs.

yeah, wanting to find calm resolution to problems rather than starting panic is so lame, amirite?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:41 AM on February 27, 2012


yeah, wanting to find calm resolution to problems rather than starting panic is so lame, amirite?....

"Moderate" is not the same as "reasonable", no matter how hard you want to believe it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:50 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Moderate" is not the same as "reasonable", no matter how hard you want to believe it.

By the same token, it's also not the same as "wimp", "sellout", or "traitor."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:02 AM on February 27, 2012


By the same token, it's also not the same as "wimp", "sellout", or "traitor."

When I think "moderate", I don't think any of those things. The words that come to my mind are phrases like "lacking in principal" and "smug".

If your honestly held positions put you in the middle of the spectrum, because if we pretend that you can chart positions in a line or on a plane your position puts you in the middle, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The sort of moderation which defines itself as the "reasonable" position, which is defined as between the two extremes, is not moderation but merely smug capitulation to whichever side is more extreme. In this case, we've got a case of "moderate" so profound that the sufferer either is pretending to regard the SWP and BNP as moral equals in order to stake out a superior position as the "reasonable" person who is above the fray, or is so profoundly ignorant that they genuinely look the same. Neither is behavior suitable for participation in honest discussion.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:08 AM on February 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


And if it's not obvious, the SWP don't go around beating up minorities and calling for the enacting of racist laws and the expulsion of immigrants. Mostly they agitate ineffectually. If you can't find a moral difference between the two, well, good lord.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:09 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


IMO, they are both in the category of child pornography and I ain't following any of those links.

Except only one has made hanging homosexuals as a point of policy, combined with openly admiring Hitler and having a current MEP who planned bombing attacks on synagogues?

Or say things like the following: "Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal. To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence."

I don't that much like the SWP, I'm more old Labour. But they aren't at all like that.
posted by jaduncan at 11:11 AM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


[Removed link per OP request. Maybe don't turn this thread into petty sniping about semantics and go out and enjoy some birthday cake and/or just take a walk. It would be a shame if this thread immediately devolved into derails.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:45 AM on February 27, 2012


This isn't really just a labor unions versus neo-nazi thugs thing.


"The recent wave of strikes directed at 'foreign' workers shows how vital it is that our unions eradicate racism from our ranks and take possible BNP activity in our union seriously. The recent large vote for the BNP in Newcastle should serve as a warning to us all. We need unity to defeat racism and fascism."


At some deeper level it's about the influence of reactionary politics in working class organizations. It's always been a struggle, especially when you start to talk about issues around jobs and foreign workers.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:52 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trots could also probably take this as a lesson about entrenched power.

"Evidence also points to the real reasons why Yunus was victimised—he was enemy of both Trust bosses and the right wing leadership of his own union."


They seem to be implying that the problem is entrenched right-wing power, but I think they're missing the point about what hierarchical authority and economic interests can do to even a pro-worker organization.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:56 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


saeculorum I also do get very strong vibes that Bakhsh must be a really difficult individual.

A word of warning: it's difficult in these sort of cases to know whether the person in question is indeed a bit "difficult" on his own or whether he was made "difficult" by the situation he found himself in. If you're fired from your work for unjust reasons and even got your union against you, it is difficult not to become an arsehole in turn just to get your justice. Reasonable people give up sooner.

As for Unison, this is an union where the leadership skews much more rightwing than part of its base and which has shown before that it can go to fairly extreme ends to get rid of leftist troublemakers. There's e.g. the case of Tony Staunton, expelled from the union for supposedly having a political leaflet on his (union provided) laptop. So I wouldn't take their lack of support for Yusuf as any evidence that he's in the wrong.

(Some disclosure: back in 2001 I was a volunteer for Tony's election campaign, when he stood for parliament in Plymouth for the Socialist Alliance.)
posted by MartinWisse at 2:59 AM on February 28, 2012


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