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Victimisation of PCS Trade Union Rep – Update 22/07/2013

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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The latest position from DWP management is that they are again attempting to derecognise our elected Assistant Branch Secretary – Lee Rock.  The letter from the DWP to Lee is here.  The reply from the national union to the DWP is below this article.

Lee was dismissed on 22 February 2013 supposedly on sickness grounds, after over 27 years in the DWP.  This was despite the fact that Lee was below his consideration point and in the 3 months prior to his dismissal Lee had not been absent due to sickness at all.  It had also been agreed that Lee could take partial retirement on health grounds from 1 January 2013.  Lee had not been absent from that date – which begs the question as to why management agreed and allowed partial retirement if they were subsequently to ignore it.

We were unsuccessful in the appeal against dismissal (Ian Bartholomew, national TU Side, represented Lee at the appeal hearing).

At the DWP union conference delegates representing over 70,000 members in over 100 branches voted unanimously to support Lee and support further strike action.

Lee received 13 weeks’ pay in Lieu from the DWP and following this has been signing-on for JSA at Cavendish JCP from the end of May.  On a personal note, Lee and his partner had a beautiful baby daughter born on 16 July at Jessops!

The national union is supporting the case at an Employment Tribunal – but as the law stands even if the case is successful the employer does not have to reinstate Lee.  A case at the Employment Tribunal is also many months away due to the large number of cases heard.

DWP management wrote to Lee informing him that they no longer recognized him as a PCS Trade Union Rep.  The national union has responded – pointing out the illegality of the DWP position.  The correspondence is below.

All members are urged to continue supporting the Branch against the victimisation of one of our Reps.

Please attend any meetings to show your support
– and vote for strike action across the Branch.

———————————————-

Jonathan Russell

Director HR Specialist Services

26th June 2013

Dear Jonathan

Re: LEE ROCK

I am writing in response to your letter of 6th June to Lee informing him of the decision of DWP to derecognise him as trade union representative.

In your letter you cite “a potential risk to the security of information” as the reason for the decision. It is not clear exactly what is meant by such a sweeping statement. I am assuming that the issue is one of confidentiality, yet there is no reason this should be more of an issue for Lee than for any other PCS representative. I believe it would be relatively easy to draw up a confidentiality agreement which would meet the Department’s requirements and allow Lee to continue in his trade union representative role.

Specifically in respect of Lee being refused permission to represent PCS members, my understanding is that such action is a breach of S.13 of the Employee Relations Act 1999 as Lee is an elected official of PCS within the meaning of S.119 of TULRA 1992. If the DWP refuse to allow a member to be represented by the companion of their choice this can result in a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

Lee remains an elected representative of PCS and as such we expect him to be afforded the same treatment as all other elected representatives. In the light of the information I have provided I urge you to reconsider the decision to derecognise Lee.

Yours Sincerely

 

Steve Farley
National Officer 

cc Lee Rock,Fran Heathcote, Steve Cawkwell, Dave Burke, Ian Bartholemew

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