May 29, 2014

So what really happened to FUCU II?

I've just found another JC article about the aborted Moty Cristol against Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust case.

It was again by Martin Bright and significantly it was written before the disastrous outcome of Mr R Fraser v University and College Union.

So let's have a look at the article from the Jewish Chronicle dated, November 15, 2012:
Across the country, strikes are being organised in the heath service by public sector union Unison. Just this week, the union described plans to cut 50 per cent of nursing staff at NHS Direct as a “disaster”. The Department of Health and Unison are effectively at war. All the more bizarre then, that they are united in their fight against Moty Cristal, an Israeli conflict resolution expert, whose invitation to run a workshop at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust was withdrawn in May.
There's a point to this in an article that has nothing to do with strikes or austerity:
I have tried this week to discover why Unison and the Trust have decided to prioritise fighting an expensive legal case during such straitened times. Neither was prepared to comment while the case was ongoing. This is patent nonsense: this is not a criminal trial and there is no jury to prejudice. But I can understand their reticence. It must be extremely embarrassing that a rare point of common ground between NHS managers and Unison is their determination to justify boycotting a respected international expert, simply for being an Israeli. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and ministers have thus far refused to intervene for fear of further inflaming Unison. 
Actually, it wasn't the union that decided to prioritise the case, it was Moty Cristol, the conflict resolution advisor.  He wasn't boycotted for "simply for being Israeli".  An explanation for his disinvitation was already reported in the JC back in April 2012 thus:
"It was considered that the decision to invite a prominent Israeli negotiator would be unacceptable given UNISON and TUC policy on the Middle East conflict, the irrelevance of the speaker to working relationships within a local NHS Trust and the inappropriateness of funding an international speaker at times of such austerity, when front line staff in the trust are at risk of redundancy."
In more recent articles the JC lets on that Moty Cristol was seeking £26.5 k.  Now in the name of fighting austerity, Martin Bright is suggesting that Unison should simply roll over and pay Moty Cristol £26.5.  He is further arguing that in these "times of such austerity" the health trust should simply have proceeded with an event the union deemed irrelevant and costly.  A bit of a logic fail there.

Further, the union's refusal to comment "while the case was ongoing" seems perfectly reasonable, especially given, that there was another ongoing case at the time.  Yes, the FUCU case linked above.

Whilst trying to pull together the various JC articles on this case I noticed one by Marcus Dysch dated August 30, 2013 announcing the scheduling of the trial:
A trial is due to begin at Central London County Court on September 11 [2013]and to last three days. He is expected to be represented by lawyers from the Mishcon de Reya law firm.
So did it happen?  Again Marcus Dysch reports (September 17, 2013):
Judge David Mitchell told Central London County Court that the complexity of the case meant its future in the courts was unclear.....

Following three days of legal arguments.....
Judge Mitchell told Dinah Rose QC, acting for Prof Cristal, that he was “not against” her, but that he was “concerned” by the number of legal issues the sides were debating and feared the case would “simply mushroom into a huge series of issues”.

The judge added a further warning that with appeals likely from both sides, it may end with the case going as far as the Supreme Court.........

He pledged to publish a judgement “as soon as I can”..........

The court had earlier heard that the Trust’s lawyers would argue that Prof Cristal’s claim was “trivial” and that the cost of the litigation was out of proportion with the benefits that he could gain.
So did the judge publish a judgement?  Did the Jewish Leadership Council threaten to withdraw their support.  Did partners in Mishcon de Reya warn any of their over enthusiastic hasbaristas of the dangers of another costly humiliation?

Its a funny old thing but in his article denouncing Unison and the health trust, Martin Bright called on  the government health minister, Jeremy Hunt,  and the then head of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber to force Unison and the health trust to capitulate.  Look at what turned out to be some major hostages to fortune:
like Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Mr Barber has decided to keep his head down over Moty Cristal. Perhaps they think if they avoid the issue it will just go away, or that it is an obscure matter unworthy of their attention. But their hand may yet be forced when the case comes to court. Moty Cristal is by profession a skilled negotiator and, as such, he knows his demands must be very clear and very reasonable. All he wants is an admission of wrongdoing from the health trust and the union and an assurance that it won’t happen again. This will cost them nothing. The alternative is potentially very expensive indeed in terms of hard cash and reputations.
Well the issue did just go away and Cristol wasn't just seeking an apology, he was seeking money too.  But if Martin Bright didn't want the case simply to go away he certainly wanted it to go one way:
Messrs Hunt and Barber could stop this nonsense now.
In the event it was Moty Cristol who stopped this nonsense but who blinked out of his own side, Mishcon le Reya, the Jewish Leadership Council or Moty Cristol himself or indeed all three?


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