Barnet UNISON Press Release: 10 July 2015: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Local Trade Unionist Victim of Hate Crime
"It is with deepest anger I have to report that our Barnet UNISON branch secretary, John Burgess, had his car vandalised as it was parked up outside his own home. After the day's activities on 8th July, which involved a strike and protests, John returned home to find a large note stuck on his car windshield: "Fucking Union Faggotts Get Back Home From Here!" and a nail stuck into a front wheel of his car. This came within 2 weeks of the Barnet UNISON banner, and a branch presence which of course included John, proudly appearing on the Pride Demo. It is our view this particular use of offensive language is far too coincidental for us not to understand this as an attack on John as a trade unionist and also for being seen on the Pride demo.
We also think there is a strong coincidence that our branch was a very early signatory to the Unite Against Fascism statement about the proposed Fascist gathering in Golders Green and encouraged our members to attend the protest last weekend (4th July). We are proud that we were part of a larger community mobilisation which meant Fascists could not raise their heads in our community. Fascists are organisations which peddle hatred and what happened to John is in every sense a Hate crime which has been reported to the police.
John has a job to do and that is to represent the members of his union branch. We choose him year after year as we believe he is the best placed person to do this. He enjoys the confidence of the branch membership. This means whoever did this is trying to intimidate and silence all of our membership. We will not be silenced!
We believe it is the demonisation of trade unions by the current Government which also encourages this type of personal attack on individual trade unionists. We condemn such attacks and call on our supporters to rally round and show solidarity and support to one who has done nothing other than defend us and offer solidarity to all those fighting the effects of Austerity and oppression." Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.
George Binette, branch secretary, Camden UNISON had this to say: "On behalf of Camden UNISON I express our shock and horror at the vicious homophobic vandalism carried out against John Burgess, Barnet UNISON branch secretary. This attack is a perverse tribute to the effectiveness of John's tireless commitment to both his members and the defence of public services. Unfortunately, all too many politicians and sections of the media seem set to whip up a Jeremy Clarkson-style climate where it is literally open season on active trade unionists. Solidarity with John and the Barnet branch."
Notes to Editors.
Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on 07432733168 or 0208 359 2088 or email: Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk