Justice for Eileen

We fear that the campaign for fair treatment for NUJ member Eileen Short in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets press office may still be necessary by the time you read this. As the Freelance went to press members there were working to rule. They held a two-day strike on 13 and 14 December, with a rally on the 14th. For updates, come back here (www.londonfreelance.org/fl/0601TH.html)

The chapel will go out on a half-day strike next Wednesday (11/06) from 1.30pm and will be leafleting the public in the morning before they begin work.
Update 23/12/2005

Thank you for your support

NUJ and Unison members at Tower Hamlets Council are still fighting to save the job of victimised press officer Eileen Short, who is facing redundancy as part of a spurious "review" of her department.

Staff staged a half-day and then a two-day strike last month and are observing a work-to-rule in protest at her treatment, which is widely seen as provoked by Eileenís involvement in campaigning, outside of work and with no impact on it, against council house stock transfer.

Tower Hamlets has refused to talk to the unions and has also turned down an offer from ACAS for talks.

The campaign to save her job has reached parliament, where 52 MPs have signed a motion condemning her treatment. NUJ members living locally might care to take the matter up with their councillors, and asking them why - after 14 years' dedicated service - they are forcing out a well-respected member of staff who was forced to reapply for her own job and then refused it despite there being no other applicants.

They might also care to ask them about the role of outside PR consultants Verve, who took over the running of the council's communications department in August 2005 and are currently running it with temporary staff and whose managing director, Lorraine Langham, once wrote of the importance of taking opponents "out of the equation" within an organisation (see December Freelance).

The chapel is enormously grateful for the considerable support it has received from freelances so far and would obviously appreciate it if, in the event of any further action, freelances asked to provide cover in any dispute found themselves unavailable.

Send protests to Christine Gilbert, the council chief executive, at christine.gilbert@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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