Silence kit

Following on from the previous post, just what are the rights of staff working in the public sector to speak out about the devastation that is facing them?

The right of public servants to speak out about what they see in their line of work is a bit of a minefield. There was the furore over the Orwell prize-winning NightJack blog, written anonymously by a serving police officer, who was unmasked by The Times after he failed to obtain an injunction to protect his identity. Not sure whether he then faced disciplinary action, but he certainly had to stop blogging.

Labour of course introduced protection for whistleblowers, provided disclosures were made “to the right person in the right way” – in other words, you can’t just go shooting your mouth off in public about what’s going on… So where does this leave people working in the public sector who want to join protest marches and rallies, or speak out on a blog or website about their fear for their jobs or the impact the cuts are having on frontline services?

Judging from this story – HT to Political Scrapbook – some employers are taking a very dim view of it. RAF top brass have apparently cracked down on employees who joined a Facebook group campaigning to save their jobs, telling them in an email that “Engaging in such activities without obtaining authorisation at the appropriate level may result in administrative or disciplinary action being taken, which in the most serious cases could ultimately lead to dismissal.”

MOD civilian staff in Bristol are also facing the threat of substantial redundancies; I’d be interested to know if any attempt has been made to gag them in a similar fashion.

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  • citizenr  On November 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Good points, Kerry. I blog about the public sector spending cuts and my own impending redundancy because it’s my small way of dealing with a nasty situation and making my own tiny protest. Freedom of speech for us peasants!

  • NightJack  On November 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I was disciplined Kerry. It was fair and proportionate. I continue to serve.

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