PCS reps, who work tirelessly to defend their colleagues, increasingly find themselves at risk of being targeted by management because of their union activities. The following are but three examples of the victimisation of union reps in PCS branches, but if we don’t stand up and fight they could quickly become so many more.
Last weekend, members in the Home Office Merseyside branch launched action in opposition to the sacking of Kevin Smith, a PCS rep unfairly dismissed after he raised a complaint about being bullied by his managers.
Kevin joined his picket line outside the Capital Building in Liverpool on Saturday, where protesters from other branches including Bootle Taxes had come along in solidarity.
Very few staff crossed the picket lines throughout the weekend and, unless management agree to reinstate Kevin, action will continue until 28 March. Because of the over reliance on overtime because of staff shortages the action means the Home Office is unlikely to meet targets set for reducing casework backlogs.
Sign the petition to reinstate Kevin Smith.
In the Identity and Passport Service London and South East branch, members are campaigning for the withdrawal of the redundancy notice of longstanding PCS branch secretary, Jon Bigger. He was declared surplus in 2010 and, despite the employer claiming they would make every effort to find him an alternative post, a compulsory redundancy notice was issued to him last month.
Jon applied for numerous roles within the Home Office, many of which he was the only candidate for. On each occasion he was forced to take a formal interview and even had to sit a two-hour test for a job in an area where he had previously worked. He’s been issued a redundancy notice at a time when several posts are being advertised at his grade.
Write to the Home Office permanent secretary demanding the withdrawal of the compulsory redundancy notice for Jon Bigger.
In DWP Sheffield Branch, assistant branch secretary Lee Rock was dismissed by contact centre management under sick absence procedures.
At the time of receiving his dismissal letter Lee had in the previous six months been absent due to sickness for a mere 2 days. Lee had not been absent due to sickness at all since starting partial retirement. His previous day of sickness absence was 3 months prior to being notified of his dismissal. Lee has two long-term underlying health conditions – Crohns Disease (for 35 years) and Depression (for at least 15 years). Both health conditions are accepted by the DWP and OHS as being covered under the Equality Act 2010 as disabilities.
The branch feels that this dismissal was a direct attack on Lee in his Trade Union capacity, and that the sickness procedures were used as a cover up for this. This view is further confirmed by the fact that the referral to the Decision Maker made reference to Lee and his Trade Union activities. This is also not the first time that management have tried to victimise Lee.
Send a message of solidarity to Lee or the branch by email to the Branch Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The branch will shortly be producing a model motion of support which can be passed through other branches.
PCS members and the wider community are being encouraged to show their support for Jon, Kevin and Lee. Especially with the government’s determination to undermine the union however it can, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.