John Pearson was unfairly dismissed from his job by Hewlett Packard for carrying out his duties as a trade union rep. He won his case at Employment Tribunal and the employer did not appeal the verdict.
His union PCS, unfortunately, refused to support his tribunal claim – and even when he won the union leadership has continually insisted that it was right to abandon him. It has built up layer upon layer of excuses, all of which have been refuted on this site, in order to entrench its position.
However, John does have support among the PCS membership. Several hundred signed the open letter to Mark Serwotka in support of John, and motions are going to Conference urging the union to reverse its untenable position. There will be a lobby ahead of Conference which John will address.
A number of branches have strong mandates to support John, and a couple of them have sent us pictures of members demonstrating their support.
All of this underlines that there is principled solidarity within our union. However, barring a u-turn, it is highly likely that the leadership will continue its efforts to prevent that principle being reflected in Conference policy. Therefore it is vital, as well as voting for the motions, mandated delegates speak in favour of them.
Last year, a motion in support of John fell because besides the mover and seconder only the opposition spoke in support. This opposition included a member of John’s own branch arguing in contradiction to the sworn testimony he gave at John’s tribunal, and the PCS leadership supporting the same falsehoods. Because of the lack of other speakers or facts to counter the lies, this was enough to sway the debate.
That can’t happen again. This debate pits a principled stand in support of all victimised reps against support only on the basis of convenience, which leaves all reps who may face victimisation in an insecure position. The former position must win out, and that requires those who support it to make their voices heard.
Lobby of PCS Annual Delegate Conference
The Brighton Centre, King’s Rd, Brighton, BN1 2GR
Tuesday 19 May, 12.30-14.00
All supporters welcome, bring flags and banners
Facebook event page here.
Add your name to the open letter here.
See the motions which need support here.