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Miss Rusty: where was the union?

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Like many of us I've been following the Miss Rusty story in all available detail. I'm open to correction on this, but I don't recall any mention of teacher's union involvement in her defence. This is a puzzle. If she's a member of a union - and most teachers are - then what did they do to support her? Why have union representatives issued no public statement about a case that has all the appearance of a witch hunt?

Even if she wasn't a member, one might reasonably expect one or more unions to have something to say about the hazard to teachers who use unorthodox methods to help their pupils.

Are we to assume from the absence of information that the union abandoned one of its members? If so, how do they justify it?

From Jill Robinson

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

In response to Graham Barker- I have no knowledge of the Miss Rusty case, but as for unions abandoning their members - I know that this can happen. My friend Joan was a home help in Leeds 20 years ago and was required to join the GMB. For various reasons, she was sacked, and asked the GMB for help. Their rep said they did not take on 'hopeless cases'. Joan went to an industrial tribunal, with assistance from the Leeds free representation unit, and won - unusually, the tribunal ordered re-engagement. She was re-engaged in a different area of Leeds, so that she did not have to work with the people who had unfairly sacked her. On her return, she was met with a letter from the GMB demanding that she rejoin. It was a closed shop in those days so she was obliged to, even though they had been no help to her at all and yet she had been vindicated.

See HebWeb Feature for comprehensive background to the Miss Rusty story.