National Vice President, MoJ Group President, MoJ North and West Yorkshire Branch Chair
I’ve over 20 years of experience as a PCS Representative and key negotiator . I’m a Democrat a Labour Party supporter and member of the Democracy Alliance. I represent members at a personal level and in high level negotiations As well as being one of the National Vice Presidents, I’m the current President of the MOJ Group and the North and West Yorkshire MoJ Branch Chair . I am a crown court clerk based at a large crown Court in the North East.
2020/21 covid 19 pandemic has seen everything change and we have had to adapt swiftly to ensure our members remain engaged, organised and are protected at all times. During this time the union has grown. I believe to continue this growth and to continue to have a strong voice we must look to the future. We are a strong union but with more members and more areas to attract a bigger membership this will better serve to extend our influence and expand our campaigning capabilities. It is not altruistic nor in the interests of its members to disparage a vision of a bigger, stronger campaigning union. If we achieve greater influence we are more powerful against the real enemy and it is for all our members to be armed with all the information to decide what ultimately is better. Democracy is key to everything and with this comes consultation and listening to members in order to act on THEIR wishes .
The safety of our members remains paramount. As chair of the national health and safety committee my priority has been to engage groups and individuals, to understand and act upon what ordinary members are facing in their individual departments. Being visible and approachable is important. The support members have received in workplaces and working from home is testament to the strength of the Democracy Alliance demonstrating time and again our ability to engage, listen and act, always putting our member’s interests first. To fully understand members it is imperative to speak with them and during a time such as this the way we communicate has had to alter. I have adopted various methods of communication to ensure I am easily contactable to members.
The way we work how we has irrevocably changed and it is both naïve and unrealistic to believe there will be a full return to the old ways of working. I aim to ensure we adapt and that our members continue to be supported and protected throughout the inevitable transition and that those changes are not simply a way of promulgating redundancies and the closure of offices.
The realities of privatisation and its effects on our members have never been in sharper focus. I, with my DA colleagues will continue to hold employers accountable and press for a return to an in-house workforce which is not only better for the tax payer and allows a better control. There is a moral duty to halt this greed and it is not for simply monetary value but for all lives lost due to a refusal of private companies to pay sick pay to its staff working in our buildings thus leaving those workers little option but to attend when too ill. Lives have been affected some lost needlessly because of this. I will continue to mount pressure, build and organise and engage and lobby at the highest level to prevent this tragedy and travesty repeating.
I have worked throughout the year for members at all grades to make sure individual concerns can be investigated and resolved swiftly. I raised the problems of insufficient equipment and the hierarchical approach to home working successfully ensuing lower paid members equally have opportunity to home work and vulnerable staff are protected. These smaller scale acts have seen an increase in membership locally and greater member’s engagement. I continue to speak with members and keep them interested building their unity finding common themes where possible which unite people. We need to be reflective of our membership. I believe like attracts like and equality must always be a priority, the obstacles preventing participation can be readily eased but people have to see their needs are understood and are represented. I have as MoJ President worked hard to ensure the equality profile has been raised within the group and to this end two BAME members of the GEC have written and conducted sessions for the GEC entitled ‘Why Black Lives Don’t Matter’, the format of which has recently been used to assist in a racism case involving an ordinary member who has now become involved in PCS work in her office. There are obstacles preventing equality strands participating and we must not be afraid to tackle these. Women’s participation in the union which may have been a barrier in the past could be alleviated to a degree with the use of technology as has been seen during the pandemic. I have worked with women in my branch to successful ly overcome obstacles and this is something that I would strive to be mirrored at all levels as I believe we will only achieve full equality through continued campaigning, working together , understanding and support. It will not be because something is in the media as that fervour though well intentioned wanes. When the day arrives that there is no longer a requirement for any equality group we can rest .
The safety of our members, the security of our members, the equality for our members are all linked and what our members are paid underpins some of this. Nearly all the civil service is identified as key workers. The Government therefore acknowledges we are required to work to keep the country running and then rewards this loyal workforce with a pay freeze. It is my aim along with the members of the Democracy Alliance to ensure that we attain a fair pay not simply because we worked through a pandemic but because the work we do year in year out deserves to be recognised with pay that is not so inadequate members must rely on second jobs foodbanks or Universal Credit to get by. I, along with my fellow DA Vice Presidents were the initial members who ensured the Pay petition brought by the current President Fran Heathcote was accepted and got off to a strong start. This action despite a pandemic attracted over a 100,000 signatures and was not only innovative in the way it highlighted the pay disparity but how it showed what could be done in difficult times. It also raised awareness publically, an arena we must further utilise to change decades of government propaganda that paints civil servants as highly paid.
The success of this action led the matter debated in parliament. That was just the start of the pay campaign and now I with the democracy alliance aim build upon this to ensure the strongest possible body of people to take forward the next stage of this vital campaign. We have a sound realistic plan and an aim that is not tied to a minority hypothetical view point.
I believe the best candidates to continue to grow the union to put its members interests and members first is the Democracy Alliance.
Full Democracy Alliance nomination list