Guest Blog by Austin Harney, PCS NEC Member

April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. It is taking place in PCS during a crucial time during our Pay Ballot and elections.

In order to explain, Autism is a neurological disability that impairs on one’s ability to learn and socially interact. The TUC have guidelines for the required Reasonable Adjustments that can accommodate Autistic people at work.

I encourage all Autistic and other Neurodivergent PCS members to cast their vote in this pay ballot and take on more active roles in this Trade Union. PCS is working closely with Janine Booth from the RMT and the Labour Party in promoting Autism/Neurodiversity along with the huge support from John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor. By encouraging more people with these conditions to become active in our Trade Union, we can tackle the huge discrimination that Autistic people face since 84% of them do not have full time employment and only a further 9% have part - time jobs.

Outside PCS, I work, closely, with Janine and the Shadow Chancellor in encouraging all Neurodivergent people to become active in the Labour Party. Labour is the first political party to endorse Autism/Neurodiversity in its manifesto during the general election of 2017.

Also, Mark Serwotka was the first Trade Union General Secretary to speak at our Autism/Neurodiversity fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in 2018. In February 2019, John McDonnell spoke at the launch of Neurodivergent Labour and I am taking up an organising role.

I have served the Labour Representation Committee for many years under its Chair, John McDonnell, and liaised, closely, with Katy Clark, former Labour MP, who is a very close friend and ally of Lynn Henderson, a candidate for Assistant General Secretary of PCS in this forthcoming election. I have known Lynn for many years. I participated with Lynn Henderson at the PCS Disabled Members protest demonstration against the Liberal Democrat Conference in Perth, 2011.

At that time, the Liberal Democrats were part of the coalition government with the Tories when they were committed to austerity!

In order to promote the interests of Neurodivergent people in PCS, I have full confidence in Lynn Henderson who can deliver on this programme if elected as the PCS Assistant General Secretary!

Austin Harney, Autistic member of the PCS NEC

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