11 April 2013
Unite the Resistance joined PCS members, SERTUC representatives, and other trade unionists and activists on a lobby at the Home Office on Wednesday this week in support of victimised PCS rep Jon Bigger. The lobby was set to take place outside an appeal hearing that was scheduled that day, but the hearing was then “mysteriously postponed”, as one PCS activist described.
Jon was declared surplus in June 2010 and was assured that Home Office management would do everything in their power to avoid his redundancy. Since then he has applied for several jobs within the Home Office and civil service more generally, but has been barred in every instance, despite being the only candidate and having the required experience. At a previous hearing, Home Office bosses turned up with their pre-made decision signed and sealed inside an envelope.
The lively protest-lobby heard from some of Jon’s supporters.
Paul McGoay, a PCS steward at the Home Office explained, “Jon is one of the most outstanding activists in the Home Office. This targeting of an effective trade union rep is an absolute disgrace. They’ve been explicit that Jon’s trade union work is an issue.”
Andy Jennings from the PCS national executive described Jon’s victimisation as a “hostile and outright attack on our union activists”. He continued, “We need to get this message back to the workplaces and mobilise as much support as possible.”
London Met Unison branch chair Max Watson, who won a campaign demanding reinstatement in March this year after being victimised, joined the lobby too. He said “If we can’t defend our union reps how will we be able to stand and fight the attacks on our pensions, attacks on our pay?”
Jon Bigger summed up the lobby. He thanked supporters, describing how management had said, ‘you’re union will not support you’.
“But this lobby is proving them wrong”, he explained, “and the messages of support are flooding in”.
A hearing will take place next Tuesday 16 April at 11.30. You can show support for Jon by turning up outside Home Office HQ in Marsham Street, London from 11am. You can also support Jon’s case by writing to the Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill today asking for his redundancy notice to be withdrawn. Tweet messages of support on Tuesday using #supportjonbigger
See how you can show solidarity by visiting pcs.org.uk/supportjonbigger