By Charlie McDonald, PCS DWP East London branch secretary
Over 1,000 PCS members across 18 locations in London are currently balloting for strike action in defence of victimised union rep, Chris Ford who has been sacked.
Chris, who is the secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions Central and West London branch, has been subject to a blatant management fit up. He is alleged to have assaulted a scab on a picket line during a seven month strike for safe working conditions in Brent. PCS members see this as an attack on our union organisation, and a politically motivated one.
Senior managers are sacking someone who has a record of leading campaigns of industrial action in defence of members. This may be the beginning of a purge of union militants, particularly in the London region.
One worrying aspect is that the union, following legal advice from the union's solicitors, have decided to conduct an office-by-office ballot instead of an aggregated ballot. This leaves open the danger that ballots could be lost in some of the smaller sites.
If the ballots for action are successful the union are looking to call members out on the two days before we break up for Christmas, the 23 and 24 December. This would cause major disruption to services. The employer should be left in no doubt: our members will vote with their feet to defend their union!