Up to 100 people marched through Hastings last Saturday to protest against the sacking of Eddie Fleming, a PCS civil service workers’ union rep, by management at the Hastings Child Support Agency office.
There was anger at the way that management had sacked Eddie but allowed Frank Swaine, a member of the nazi British National Party (BNP), to stand in last week’s local elections.
Eddie was sacked for carrying out his trade union duties. Janice Godrich, the PCS president, made clear in her speech to the demonstration that the union is giving its full backing to Eddie.
Kate Douglas, the assistant south east regional secretary for the PCS in the Department for Work and Pensions, told Socialist Worker, “Management wants an acquiescent workforce in the Child Support Agency before it is privatised on 1 July.
“That is behind the attack on Eddie and on other reps at the Hastings office who are also facing disciplinaries.
“They are also attacking terms and conditions before it is handed over to become the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission in July.
“The level of support for Eddie and his colleagues was shown by the number of PCS members from across the country who travelled to the demonstration.”
The PCS branch in Hastings faced further pressure from management last week as it tried to highlight the issues around Eddie Fleming and Frank Swaine.
Two PCS officials distributing leaflets outside the office on Wednesday of last week were warned to leave government property or be thrown off by security guards.
The DWP, which the Child Support Agency is part of, also let Daniel Thorlby stand for the BNP in the north east of England.
The Defend Eddie Fleming campaign is organising a fringe meeting at the PCS conference later this month.