The 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 the type of radical militant action that we are becoming known for and it should be extended throughout the movement.
One of the highlights from the demonstration was a speech by Max Watson who is facing victimisation himself at London Metropolitan University. In return we are fully behind Max’s campaign and that of his colleague Steve Jefferys. The victimisation of trade union reps is a major issue in our movement at the moment and both London Metropolitan University and the Home Office are shamefully leading the way. We must lead the way in stopping them.
The moment management found out that a demo was going to take place they postponed Jon’s hearing. We find it amazing how cowardly some of the most powerful people in the country can act. Whilst they claim that an individual is ill and can’t take part in the panel it is clear that they are in disarray on this entire issue. The truth is that there are very few senior HR managers in the area where Jon works who haven’t been tainted by the way he has been treated. This has meant that they couldn’t simply go ahead with the hearing because there’s nobody else who could take part in the panel. However some will make the conclusion that this was simply a ploy on their behalf in the hope that we would call the demonstration and communications blockade off.
We are in the process of setting up a new communications blockade for Tuesday, April 16 to coincide once again with the appeal hearing. Full details of that will be released shortly. Please take part and continue to put the pressure on the Home Office.