Socialist Worker

Defend the PCS union in Hastings

Issue No. 2216

A demonstration has been called in support of Sam Buckley, the sacked PCS civil service union branch secretary at the Child Support Agency (CSA) in Hastings.

Sam was dismissed in early July as part of a sustained attack on the union.

He spoke to Socialist Worker about his case and why the demonstration has been called.

“The demonstration is in Hastings on 18 September. It’s been called by Hastings trades council and the PCS nationally. It is backed by the PCS locally and regionally.

“Management are out to bust the union. Hastings is a pilot case—they are using aggressive, anti-union techniques to weaken the union ahead of the huge public sector cuts to come.”

Sam is now the fifth branch officer to face dismissal at Hastings CSA.

“Management are alleging that I am incapable of being sufficiently accurate when doing my job. The level of accuracy they are demanding is between 95 to 100 percent.

“They say the accuracy rate in my section is 50 percent, but the average accuracy rate nationally is less than this. The management constantly change the rules and demand changes to they way things are done, so this makes it difficult to be more accurate.

“But of course there is something else going on. It began in 2007 when Eddie Fleming, our branch chair, was sacked.

“If they succeed in destroying our union branch then they will try and break union organisation across the civil service.

“PCS members at the CSA in Hastings have not been allowed to hand out leaflets in my defence outside the workplace. So full time officials and reps from other places leafletted and petitioned.

“It was highly successful with hundreds of signatures collected.

“All this stands in contrast to the management’s attitude to fascists. Frank Swain, a British National Party (BNP) member, got management’s permission to stand for the party in 2008 and 2009.

“When we handed out anti-fascist leaflets outside, we were again told we weren’t allowed as it was ‘political’ and the civil service is meant to be politically neutral. But we were told that Swain could stand for the BNP as he was entitled to free speech!

“The next step is the demonstration. We’ve had messages of support from all across the country, from Swansea and Plymouth to the north of Scotland. The Labour leader of Hastings council is speaking and so is the Unite convenor of Honda.

“We want to show that the trade union movement will not accept these attacks.”

Send messages of support to

Demonstration, 1pm, Saturday 18 September, Hastings Pier, TN34‎

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 24 Aug 2010, 17:30 BST
Issue No. 2216
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.