By a civil servant
An important battle to defend trade union rights and stop the victimisation of a trade union rep is shaping up in the Department of Work and Pensions.
Charlie MacDonald is a trade union rep in the Stratford social security office in London. In the recent past complaints have been made against him, complaints which relate to incidents that occurred at the beginning of the year during a strike in the DWP. Why have these complaints only just been made? The union, the PCS, feels that they can only be the basis of a concerted attempt by management to get rid of Charlie.
The management claims that he swore at scabs during the strike. They also claim that he swore at and pushed one of the middle managers, also during the strike. In fact a different incident occured when Charlie went into his office to see how many workers were on strike. The manager stepped into his path to physically bar his way into the office, pushed Charlie and swore at him.
Charlie maintains this never happened but it is a case of one person's word against another because the video from the CCTV camera which would have recorded the incident has been mysteriously wiped!
Prior to these complaints, Charlie was disciplined for distributing union material via the email, and that is the subject of a forthcoming appeal at an Employment Tribunal.
Charlie has not been suspended but the local union is gearing itself up for a fight. Charlie's local office has voted overwhelmingly for an indefinite strike so that these charges are withdrawn. The union is canvassing offices in the local branch to come out as well.