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Defend Keith Henderson v GMB

2nd February 2015

Defend Keith Henderson v GMB

Labour Representation Committee invites all trade unionists to: Join the Picket of the Employment Appeals Tribunal at 8.30 am on Tuesday 10 February

Fleetbank House,2-6 Salisbury Square,LONDON EC4Y 8AE (nearest tube- Blackfriars)

Keith Henderson was dismissed from his job as a regional organiser by the General, Municipal and Boilermakers (GMB) trade union for mounting a picket at the House of Commons on 30 November 2011 on behalf of the demand of a decent pension for GMB members who were low-paid workers demanding their right to a decent pension. They had democratically decided on the action at their branch meeting.

A number of Labour MPs respected the picket; this did not please the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, and his office contacted the GMB General Secretary, Paul Kenny, indicating their displeasure- Mr Kenny phoned Keith and shouted at him, saying that an article he had written was “too left wing”.

Keith lost his Employment Tribunal 30 September 2013 on the grounds of unfair dismissal. However the Employment Tribunal concluded that “left wing democratic socialism is a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010” as Keith had argued,. The Tribunal went on to hold that although the principle reason for the Keith’s dismissal was his conduct “a substantial part of the reasoning behind dismissing the Claimant was because of his philosophical belief and was an effective cause of his dismissal”

GMB Bureaucracy Seeks to Crush the Ruling on Socialism

Outrageously the right wing bureaucrats of the GMB have now gone to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) to overturn this latter part of the ruling because every militant and socialist can now cite it if victimised by their employer or trade union.

They are so determined to extinguish this chink of light opened up for rank and file trade union militants and socialists by Keith’s principled struggle that they have already indicated that if they lose the EAT they are willing to take the case to the Court Of Appeal, it has already costed GMB members hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees!

John McDonnell MP wrote to Paul Kenny on 18th October 2013:

“On the day of the co-ordinated industrial action on pensions in November 2011 Keith did a great job in organising picket lines at Parliament and I joined those picket lines. The atmosphere on the picket line was good natured and in the best traditions of the trade union movement of solidarity. Many Labour MPs supported the strike and rightfully respected the picket lines.

This must be the first time a trade union, and possibly any employer, has been found to have considered a person being a Left wing democratic socialist as part of the reasoning for sacking him. I am sure you agree that the union would not want to be associated with any finding of discriminatory treatment of an employee on the basis of his belief in democratic socialism.”

There is a pattern of action against trade union activists who hold socialist views in some trade unions.The dismissal of Keith Henderson,an LRC activist,is a blatant example of this. As well as attending the picket, please raise this issue in your trade union branches and send support messages and donations to:

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