Austin Harney

I work in the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) that looks after the money of mentally incapacitated clients, within the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). I saved hundreds of jobs in the OPG and the Youth Justice Board, by parliamentary lobbying. I am fighting thousands of redundancies in Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service. MoJ has the lowest paid administrative staff in the Civil Service of which national campaigning is vital. We must re – build our membership with a Representative and Advocate in every workplace that can defend our jobs, pay, terms and conditions. I represent members up to employment tribunal. In 2021, I prevented compulsory relocations from Medway Court to another region by lobbying the local Trades Union Council and their Labour councillors. We need to apply these successful tactics against other courts that are threatened with closure. I am ensuring more representation for our prison staff on the MoJ Group Executive Committee. This representation is important as our PCS members are impacted by so many deaths in the prisons from COVID 19 and, still, face the threat of prison privatisation!

I am Autistic and promoted Autism/Neurodiversity acceptance in the Civil Service. I am on the PCS National Disabled Members’ Forum and the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee. I campaign with “Disabled People Against the Cuts” (DPAC) against the appalling Universal Credit and spoke at their demonstration outside Downing Street on 30th September when further cuts were introduced. In May 2021, I organised the first historic meeting between the Disabled Workers’ Committees of the TUC and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Currently, I am fighting to protect our members from the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, as more than two – thirds of people who died, have disabilities.

I pay £20 per month to the PCS Fighting Fund and support picket lines in other government departments. I represent members in the Private Sector as we are pressurising the government over the living wage for every security guard and cleaner in the MoJ. I re – invigorated the National Health and Safety Committee with the National Hazards Campaign. We need further campaigning against bullying, discrimination, stress and deteriorating mental health.

I am PCS Liaison Officer of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI), Justice for Columbia and the Greece Solidarity Campaign. An injury to one Trade Union abroad is an injury to us all. I will ensure that PCS promotes Islamaphobia Month in November. As second generation Irish, I campaign for the rights of Black, Asian, Migrant and Ethnic Workers within the TUC. As a result, I pushed for the first historic meeting with the MoJ on behalf of Traveller, Gypsy and Roma rights in the Civil Service in 2020. I, also, ensured that PCS was the first British Trade Union apart from UNITE to support the campaign against the Water Charges in Ireland! In October 2021, I ensured that there was a PCS presence at the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street commemoration against the Far Right and austerity.

I campaign against Climate Change. Jointly with the TSSA, I have established the first Environmental Sustainability and Just Transition Network Committee within the TUC London, East and South East region. On 6th November, I spoke at the COP26 demonstration in Cambridge on behalf of disabled people impacted by Climate Change, especially those who lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina. Also, I am ensuring a stronger liaison between the PCS NEC and the Aviation Sector. It is important that PCS Representatives at airports have a stronger voice against Climate Change and campaign for more jobs along with better pay, terms and conditions in the aviation industry.

I will continue to support Mark Serwotka as General Secretary. A united leadership in working with him is vital, if we are to resist more attacks. As a Labour Party Socialist and PCS Left Unity member, I ask you to vote for the Democracy Alliance.

Full Democracy Alliance nomination list

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