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Reinstate Lee Rock, Victimised Trade Union Rep! 08/03/2013

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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By now most branch members will be aware of the recent dismissal of Lee Rock, a prominent PCS activist and rep in our branch. Below are the two motions passed with unanimous support at our branch AGM, and one submitted to PCS DWP Group conference.

It is important to understand that the branch feels that this dismissal was a direct attack on Lee in his Trade Union capacity, and that the sickness (‘Attendance Management’) procedures were used as a cover up for this. The circumstances surrounding Lee’s sickness would suggest that in other circumstances, if he was not a Trade Union rep, the dismissal would not have taken place.

The branch is also now circulating a petition to members, which we will be asking people to sign in their own time. We will be standing outside work before and after work and at lunchtimes, and if members want to sign it, they can contact their local rep to find out how.

This is part of a wider attack on PCS locally and nationally, and all members of the branch should stand united to support Lee and the union branch.

Other trade union branches, or Trades Councils, who wish to send a message of solidarity to Lee or the branch, should write a comment on this post, or email it to the Branch Secretary at tombishell@yahoo.co.uk

We will shortly be producing a model motion of support which can be passed through other branches.

The branch has the full support of the PCS Region and DWP Group in this matter.

EMERGENCY MOTION TO BRANCH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)

1. This AGM notes the attacks from Contact Centre management upon our Assistant Branch Secretary – Lee Rock:

On Saturday 23 February 2013 Lee received at his home a letter stating he had been dismissed as of Friday 22 February on attendance management grounds.

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;

Lee had successfully completed a six-month Written Warning and was in the 12-month backsliding period when he reached his consideration point of 11 days exactly;

Lee was then referred to a Decision Maker for consideration of dismissal. In this referral to the DM mention was made of his trade union activities;

Lee was denied his rights to present his grievance in person concerning the referral;

On 1st January 2013 Lee took Partial Retirement on health grounds to help manage his absence levels. Contact Centre management had agreed to this subsequent to the referral to the Decision Maker;

A meeting with the Decision Maker took place on 8 February. Ian Bartholomew (national TU Side) represented Lee;

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 23 November 2012, i.e. 3 months prior to being notified of his dismissal.
2.  In the experience of the DWP Sheffield Reps they have never come across a dismissal – even in the Contact Centres – where someone with only 2 days’ sickness absence in 6 months has been dismissed on sickness grounds.

This AGM firmly believes Lee is being victimised due to his activity as a Trade Union Branch Officer for the DWP Sheffield Branch and as a well-known union activist within the DWP.  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.

This AGM agrees to campaign for Lee’s full reinstatement and therefore seeks authority from the national union to ballot the Sheffield Contact Centre members for strike action.

This AGM further agrees that if strike action from the Contact Centre members is insufficient to move the employer, that we seek authority to ballot members across the DWP Sheffield Branch.

EMERGENCY MOTION TO BRANCH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)

 

For DWP Conference

1.  This DWP Conference notes the continuing attacks from DWP management upon our trade union reps.

2.  This conference further notes the recent attack upon the DWP Sheffield Assistant Branch Secretary – Lee Rock:

On Saturday 23 February 2013 Lee received at his home a letter stating he had been dismissed as of Friday 22 February on attendance management grounds.  This action was after over 27 years employment in the department;

Lee has two long-term underlying health conditions, both of which are accepted by the DWP and OHS as being covered under the Equality Act 2010 as disabilities;

Lee had successfully completed a six-month Written Warning and was in the 12-month backsliding period when he reached his consideration point of 11 days exactly;

Lee was then referred to a Decision Maker for consideration of dismissal. In this referral to the DM mention was made of his trade union activities;

Lee was denied his rights to present his grievance in person concerning the referral;

On 1st January 2013 Lee took Partial Retirement on health grounds to help manage his absence levels and remain in employment. Contact Centre management had agreed to this subsequent to the referral to the Decision Maker and several months prior to meeting the Decision Maker;

A meeting with the Decision Maker took place on 8 February. Ian Bartholomew (national TU Side) represented Lee;  and

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 23 November 2012, i.e. 3 months prior to being notified of his dismissal.
3.  This Conference firmly believes Lee is being victimised due to his activity as a Trade Union Branch Officer for the DWP Sheffield Branch and as a well-known union activist within the DWP.

4.  This Conference instructs the incoming GEC to campaign for Lee’s full reinstatement, up to and including strike action across the Contact Centre network.

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