Union condemns hate crime as rep's car is vandalised

By Anne-Marie Sanderson in Crime

VANDALS who left a homophobic and anti-union message on the car of a union rep have been told their bullying won’t work.

The vile and illiterate message was stuck on the windscreen of a car belonging to Barnet Unison’s branch secretary John Burgess as the union staged a one day strike over fears the council plans to outsource more services.

Nails were also jabbed into a front wheel tyre of Mr Burgess’s car which was parked outside the borough. It is thought that the incident happened on Wednesday (July 8)

He said: “We are not going to be bullied by this handwritten and offensive message.”

He said union members had received a lot of support on the picket lines and none of the union reps had reported any trouble.

However he feared that “anti-union rhetoric is going to get worse” as unions stage more industrial action over the coming months.

Strikers were joined at the picket lines at Barnet council offices at North London Business Park in New Southgate by Labour leadership hopeful MP Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday.

Police are investigating the attack on Mr Burgess’s car.

Barnet Unison’s branch secretary Helen Davies said the incident happened just two weeks after members, including Mr Burgess paraded in the Pride march through central London.

She said: “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.”

She added: “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.”

A Baqrnrt council spokesman said: "“The council has been made aware of this incident which must have been extremely distressing. We absolutely condemn any act of hate crime, intimidation or vandalism.”

The proposed rally by far right groups was ordered out of Golders Green by police and took place in Whitehall instead and went off peacefully.

The message comes in a week that Barnet remembered the eight residents who were murdered in the 7/7 bomb attacks on London.

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