Summary: Home Office ban PCS petition in an attempt to silence members. Don’t let them get away with it. Sign petition outside work, use smart phones or other devices to sign on-line via the following link. Forward the link with a message to workmates to encourage them to sign and share on social media. Sign the petition by 30 November 2015.
Keep signing the petition
Last week PCS launched a petition against the hated system of forced ranking in the Home Office, supported by our colleagues in the Prospect union. Within days of launching the petition, it has attracted thousands of signatures from across the department as people have jumped at the opportunity to support us in our efforts to get rid of this hated, divisive, discriminatory system. Thank you to the thousands who have signed already. If you haven’t signed yet please do and spread the word to encourage your workmates.
The petition didn’t involve anything other than people signing their names either online or on a piece of paper if they supported the petition’s aims. There was no threat of industrial action or other disruption to the department’s business proposed.
However, last Friday, PCS received a letter from those fair minded folks in the Employee Relations Team giving notice of the Home Office’s intention to ban any petition related activity on their premises and banning staff from using Home Office IT to sign the online petition. When asked by PCS to explain this move, they could only offer up that as the petition was against a Home Office policy, it wasn’t appropriate for staff to speak up against said policy on their property. But the starting point and basic right for any trade union worth it’s salt is to gather members views and demonstrate the strength of feeling to management. This is in order to change poor policies or bring about changes that are of benefit to members, which can ultimately be beneficial to the employer too.
‘Have your say…. but only when we agree’
The move is just the latest in a string of attempts by the Home Office (who let’s not forget are charged by the Government with defending freedom of speech in the UK) to stop staff from having an independent voice in the workplace. It follows:
- The High Court injunction of PCS last year, stopping us from revealing the damning results of a survey of Border Force staff on ‘national security’ grounds
- Changes to the grievance procedure which mean all complaints by staff are now subject to a ‘pre-sift’ before the department will deal with them.
- The removal of union members’ ability to pay their subscriptions through payroll, which was a direct attempt to help bankrupt affected unions.
- The removal of paid time for union members to attend meetings with representatives, unless the Home Office agree with what the union is going to say.
All these poor ‘behaviours’ are enough to get the department a bad mark in any assessment of their approach to meaningful staff engagement and conduct. Will these senior managers now be put in the “bottom 10%!?”
Another reason to boycott the People Survey
Meanwhile, the department still think that people should respond to the People Survey and have desperately been putting pressure on staff, many of whom have decided not to bother filling it in because the department can’t be bothered acting on the results.
This hits the department where hurts, because if the ‘Engagement rate’ is low it’s a safe bet to say certain people in senior positions may be placed in the ‘must improve’ category…
Don’t Suffer in Silence – Sign the Petition Today
PCS will not be shutting down the petition and the department will not make the issue go away. PCS reps have dealt with hundreds of cases supporting members against the unfairness of forced ranking, whilst seeing morale in the workplace plummet in large part due to this absolutely bankrupt method of scoring performance.
Vital departmental resources, which could have otherwise been used on things that actually benefit staff and service users have instead been wasted on administering the system.
PCS and Prospect are still encouraging you to say ‘NO MORE’ and sign the petition TODAY.
Ways to add your name to the growing numbers supporting the petition:
1. Online at this link. The department won’t let you do this on their systems so you will need to do this from your smart phone or an online connection away from work. If you haven’t registered your personal email address with PCS, do this with your branch reps or on the PCS website www.pcs.org.uk/en/member/member-login.cfm.
2. Sign a paper petition which will be being circulated by your local branch reps outside your workplace.
3. SPREAD THE WORD. Forward the petition either online www.pcs.org.uk/HomeOfficePMSpetition or paper copies to your friends and colleagues and ask them to sign and help us make it even more successful. Also share the message with workmates on social media.
PCS will not allow the department to dictate what issues are important to the workforce. Help us to make the PDR petition a massive success and make it clear that you will not stand by and watch as the department try to silence us all. Despite the employers’ efforts to silence you, a massive response to the petition can’t be ignored by senior management and PCS will be making sure they listen.
Mike Jones (Group Secretary)
Home Office Group Members’ Briefing
Also available as a PDF from the PCSSEE Branch website HO/MB/52/15