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Defend Jon Bigger demonstration

April 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Civil Service Rank & File Network

2013-04-10-12-39-07The Civil Service Rank and File Network called a demonstration outside of the Home Office headquarters building in London on Wednesday, April 10. A number of Home Office reps and activists have been victimised by that department over a number of years and the protest was to coincide with the redundancy appeal hearing for Jon Bigger. Jon has been a rep for five years and has worked in senior positions in the branch as well as at group level.

The demonstration was well attended by PCS activists and members. There were also members of other unions present including the IWW. To coincide with the demonstration the CSRF organised a communications blockade so that people across the country could bombard the Home Office top brass with queries about Jon’s future. This communications blockade was announced to people at the demonstration and it got a huge round of applause. It is exactly…

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#PCS Protests at Home Office against Victimisation of Reps #supportJonBigger

April 11, 2013 Leave a comment
English: The Home Office, Marsham Street, West...

English: The Home Office, Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, April 10 PCS organised a demonstration outside Home Office headquarters building on Marsham Street to protest at the way PCS reps are being victimised. This was planned to coincide with the appeal hearing against a redundancy notice issued to Jon Bigger one of our local branch representatives and former branch secretary.

Just days previously management postponed the appeal hearing but the demonstration went ahead as planned. Jon’s appeal will now be heard on Tuesday, April 16 and we will forward details of our plans to mark this event in the near future.

The demonstration was well attended and the sun came out which was a great help. Branch chair and assistant group secretary Paul McGoay introduced a number of speakers at the event including Andy Jennings (group president), Joel Hirsch (former branch secretary), Bernard Regan (chair of the SERTUC International Committee), and Jon himself.  We were also visited by senior officials from the TUC in the south-east.

A victimised rep from London Metropolitan University, Max Watson, spoke passionately about his fight against the discrimination he faces along with his colleagues Steve Jefferys and Jawad Botmah. This along with the speech by group president Andy Jennings was a useful reminder that union busting is alive and well not just in Jon’s case but across the Home Office and beyond.

The Home Office will be surprised by the amount of people that attended from such a diverse range of areas.  He was especially pleased to see some members come out to join the protest. Jon has worked extensively in the trade union movement over the last few years and has held positions at the TUC where he’s done a great deal of work to combine local issues with those of an international nature. He is also on the PCS regional committee for London and there was a great presence from PCS HQ who provided the logistics for the event.

The campaign for Jon’s reinstatement will continue and the next stage will be Tuesday. The Home Office is now acutely aware of the damage their decisions have done. The handing of a redundancy notice to Jon is unjust at a time when they are hiring people at his grade. Support the campaign and help PCS end of the victimisation of its activists in the Department.

JOIN THE DEMONSTRATION – SUPPORT JON BIGGER

April 9, 2013 1 comment
English: The current offices of the British Ho...

English: The current offices of the British Home Office, located at 2 Marsham Street, London. Photo taken on 15 November 2005 by User:Canley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Show your support for Jon and attend the demonstration outside Home Office HQ in Marsham Street at 12:30pm 10th April 2013.

Jon Bigger, a longstanding PCS representative in the Identity and Passport Service, has been issued with a compulsory redundancy notice. PCS believes that the Home Office has broken its own rules which dictate that those facing redundancy should have preferential treatment for roles.

Jon was declared surplus in June 2010 and was told that the Home Office would do everything in its power to avoid his redundancy. He applied for various jobs within the Home Office and wider civil service but has been barred on every single occasion on spurious grounds.

On one occasion Jon was forced to go through a two-hour exam and a full interview for a job he had previously done. On another occasion he was asked to prepare a presentation for an interview but not asked to deliver it at the interview. In both cases he was the only candidate.

After successfully applying for a role in the communications team, it was later taken from him as he was told he would not be able to fulfil the role even with training. Jon has a great deal of communications experience and was the only candidate for the position.

At a recent hearing the manager arrived with Jon’s decision letter already signed and sealed in an envelope before he had even heard Jon’s evidence.

PCS believes that he should not be considered as redundant when roles at his grade are being advertised. Jon remains willing to work anywhere in London within the civil service.

Please show your support for Jon and join the demonstration on Wednesday 10 April 2013 outside 2 Marsham Street.

Civil Service Rank and File Bulletin (Mar 2013)

March 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Civil Service Rank & File Network

The latest bulletin from the Civil Service Rank and File Network is now out. You can read it below. If you’re involved with rank and file activism in other sectors in the UK or beyond we would like to hear from you.

The bulletin includes our call to punctuate official action from PCS with rank and file activity, details of action to defend victimised rep Jon Bigger, information about the closure of HMRC Enquiry Centres, and a call for solidarity with Home Communities Agency workers also striking on 20 March.

Please download/print and distribute amongst fellow civil servants and government workers.

CSRF Bulletin 05 (Mar 2013) (PDF)

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February 26, 2013 1 comment

Civil Service Rank & File Network

This week, there are several actions you can take in support of victimised Home Office reps Jon Bigger and Kevin Smith.

Jon Bigger

Jon is facing redundancy despite assurances that the Home Office would seek to avoid it.  They are still recruiting for roles at his grade and yet insist he must go.  For more information see here.  Please click on the link below to use the standard letter to force answers from the Home Office.

Letter to HO Perm Sec (.doc)

The letter can be printed and sent to the Home Office or emailed as per below:

Mark Sedwill
Permanent Secretary
Home Office
3rd Floor Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

Email address: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Kevin Smith

Kevin was sacked for standing up to management bullying. For more information see here. From the 1st March to 28th March 2013 staff who work in the Capital Building…

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Victimisation of PCS Rep Jon Bigger – Write to the Home Office Permanent Secretary

February 25, 2013 4 comments

Please support Jon who is facing redundancy despite assurances that the Home Office would seek to avoid it.  They are still recruiting for roles at his grade and yet insist he must go.  For more information see here.  Please click on the link below to use the standard letter to force answers from the Home Office.

Letter to HO Perm Sec

The letter can be printed and sent to the Home Office or emailed as per below:

Mark Sedwill
Permanent Secretary
Home Office
3rd Floor Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

Email address: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Victimisation of Reps – Support Jon Bigger

February 20, 2013 8 comments

Members will be aware that recently a PCS rep in the Home Office Merseyside Branch was sacked after raising a grievance against his manager.  This follows the sacking a couple of years ago of two high profile reps in the Home Office Group.

In our own branch the outgoing Branch Secretary, Jon Bigger has been surplus since June 2010.  On being declared surplus he was told that every effort would be made to avoid his redundancy.  However, earlier this week he was handed a Compulsory Redundancy Notice.

Jon has applied for numerous roles within the Home Office and for the vast majority of these he has been the only candidate.  When declared surplus he was told that if he was the only candidate for a role then the process would be a matter of meeting the hiring manager informally before being slotted into the role.  Instead, on each occasion Jon has been forced to take a formal interview.  On one occasion he was forced to take a 2 hour test for a job in an area where he worked previously and in another he was told to prepare for a presentation and then wasn’t asked to deliver it at the interview.

He has been asked to jump though hoops, despite being the only candidate for roles and then he has been refused those roles.

The Home Office gave him his notice last week despite these issues and despite still advertising roles at his grade.  They also did this despite the formal meetings between the Cabinet Office and PCS not coming to an end, although the Cabinet Office now seem to have pulled out of these meetings.

This is a scandalous way to treat a dedicated member of staff who has consistently told management that he is willing to work in any role in London across the civil service at his grade.  Meanwhile others have been slotted into position during the redundancy process without having to be interviewed.  We have to ask what is different about Jon?  Why have management moved to end his contract without affording him the same help?

The answer is that Jon is a prominent trade union rep.  Jon has successfully delivered industrial action, fought and publicised the issue of institutional racism within the organisation and consistently questioned the motives and activities of senior people.  Jon is appealing the latest refusal to give him a role and the decision to make him redundant.  We are also looking at legal options.

You can help in our campaign to keep Jon in the civil service.  Next week we will be establishing a template letter you can send to the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office to seek him to re-consider the redundancy notice.  When you get access to this letter it will simply be a matter of posting or emailing it to his office and we would urge everyone to do so.

Support your reps!  They support you all year round and without them the union could not function.

Branch Executive Committee

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