Stop the victimisation of senior PCS rep Paul Williams

28 Feb 2020

Paul Williams has a long and proud history of defending his colleagues at the Department for Transport, and predecessor departments, for nearly 40 years but as a result of his union activities is facing compulsory redundancy even though there are vacancies at his grade.

Our union has this week, launched a campaign to support Paul who is also a well-respected campaigner across the union movement and has led his members in PCS on a number of industrial action disputes. He is a member of the PCS national executive committee and president of the PCS transport group.

His current employer, the Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA), came into being in 2014 and almost immediately senior management set about trying to curtail and harass Paul.

Employer policy breaches

In 2016, they launched a grievance against him which ultimately ended two years later. Failing to pin anything on Paul, they had to instead apologise for procedural and policy breaches.

In 2018, just before his employer dropped its grievance the DVSA decided to restructure Paul’s team by removing all HEO roles – Paul’s grade. This is now one of the only teams in DVSA that has no HEO grade. The result was that Paul became a surplus member of staff and was officially put ‘at risk’ of redundancy in February 2019.

Barriers

Since then Paul has been consistently sifted out of the roles he has applied for and has had barriers put in his way on every occasion.

One recent suitable alternative was only offered on the basis he would reduce his facility time for trade union duties, while another role was refused at interview stage if his intention was to continue as a union rep. This is clear victimisation for trade union duties.

Victimisation

Paul has had over 4 years of harassment, bullying, victimisation and discrimination. It is clear that redeployment and redundancy policies have been blatantly ignored by both DVSA and the DfT. He is now threatened with being made compulsorily redundant.

There are hundreds of jobs within DVSA that are being filled with temporary staff and contingency workers, whilst numerous vacancies are available at Paul’s grade.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Paul has spent his working life standing up for workers. He is now asking for our support, not only because of his situation, but because if one civil service department can ignore the Cabinet Office protocols then others will follow.”

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