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Britain: Obstructed safety rep gets payout
A union safety rep on London’s Tube system who was prevented from fulfilling his health and safety role by London Underground has won thousands of pounds in compensation at an employment tribunal. London Underground was found to have “wilfully and deliberately” flouted health and safety law by refusing to allow Paul McCarthy, 47, to inspect four tube lines.
ASLEF news release • 15 September 2007

Britain: Official guide says “stop if hazardous”
A new HSE construction “task card” advises site staff to “Think First, Act Safe, Stop if Hazardous and Keep Safe.” It is rare for HSE to be so explicit on the stop work issue, although section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act places a clear legal duty on workers to take care not to put themselves at risk, and the Employment Rights Act makes in an offence for an employer to victimise a worker for leaving or refusing to return to the job where there is a serious and imminent danger.
HSE webpage on Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC) and the Task Card [pdf] • Hazards magazine victimisation webpages • 11 August 2007

Australia: Church shareholder challenges safety sackings
An Australian church is calling for an investigation after claims an energy company fired two subcontractors who raised safety concerns. The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is a significant shareholder in power industry giant Woodside Energy, owner of the Port Campbell gas plant where two workers were sacked, allegedly after reporting safety incidents.
The AgeABC NewsChristian TodayABC Radio audio report • 21 July 2007

Britain: Union rep bullied, harassed then sacked
A GMB shop steward who complained she was bullied and harassed at work as a result of her trade union activities has now been fired. Wendy Ford was sacked last week from the Gateshead Remploy factory.
GMB news release • 21 July 2007

Britain: Female shipyard worker fired unfairly
A young woman who developed arthritis as a result of physically demanding, repetitive work in a shipyard was unfairly dismissed, a tribunal has ruled. Louise Brooks, 31, was sacked by A&P Falmouth four years after being diagnosed.
Unite-TGWU news release • 14 July 2007

Italy: McDonald’s fires safety campaigner
A trade unionist has been fired from a Rome outlet of the global fast food giant McDonald’s after raising safety concerns. Global foodworkers’ union federation IUF says the union representative, employed at the unit for 16 years, “had denounced the inadequate kitchen ventilation, intolerable psychological pressure on employees and the lack of training, especially on health and safety, which have resulted in many incidents.”
IUF news release • 7 July 2007

Britain: RMT stands up for train safety
Rail union RMT has warned there could be industrial action if any workers at the First Great Western rail company are victimised for refusing dangerous work. The union says its members have raised concerns that the firm is “playing a very dangerous game” with new high-speed train services, where it says have been reintroduced in south-east Cornwall without adequate risk assessments.
Risks 290, 20 January 2007

Britain: Dismissed Tube worker is reinstated
A dispute over the sacking of a Jubilee Line train operator has been resolved after a London Underground director’s appeal decided the dismissal of Raj Nathvani should be suspended for 12 months.
Risks 274, 16 September 2006

Britain: ‘Right to refuse’ victory reversed
TV journalist Richard Gizbert has had his “right to refuse” legal victory at an employment tribunal overturned by the Court of Appeal. The former London based ABC News journalist, who has covered conflicts in Somalia, Rwanda and Chechnya, refused to go to Iraq in 2004 and was dismissed.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006 • Hazards victimisation webpages

Britain: Union action over Tube victimisation
Members of Tube union RMT are considering industrial action over a series of reports of safety-related victimisation.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: NUJ calls for protection of the ‘right to refuse’
UK and international media union organisations are issuing a call to arms over a journalist’s right to refuse dangerous assignments like the Iraq war. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) are asking their members and fellow unions to contribute to the legal fund of a journalist who lost his job for refusing assignments to Iraq.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: Sacked for making a safety stand
GMB has called on the owner of the American Dry Cleaning Company, Julian Stone, to reinstate two workers who stood up against a long hours culture and poor working conditions and were sacked for their trouble.
Risks 261, 17 June 2006 • Hazards victimisation webpages.

Britain: Compensation increases for safety victimisation
The limits on payments and awards made to workers in employment rights cases, including unfair dismissal for trade union activity, safety rep activity or raising or acting on safety concerns, rose on 1 February from £3,800 to £4,000.
Risks 242, 4 February 2006

Britain: Amicus wins compensation for sacked print worker
A print worker targeted for redundancy after winning compensation for a disabling strain injury has received a £45,000 payout for unfair dismissal.
Risks 242, 4 February 2006

Britain: Amicus demands reinstatement of 'whistleblower'
Amicus is demanding the reinstatement of one of its members suspended by Leeds Mental Health Trust. The union believes that two leading members of staff are being victimised because they have raised safety concerns about problems concerning the design and building standards of three PFI hospitals built by Leeds Mental Health Trust.
Risks 230, 29 October 2005

Britain: Amicus members suspended for raising fire fears
A hospital trust has suspended two workers after they drew attention to fire safety hazards.
Risks 229, 22 October 2005

Britain: Government “encouraged” danger cover-ups
Dangerous and fraudulent employers have been helped cover-up their wrongdoing because of the government’s flawed whistleblowing rules, according to an official watchdog.
Risks 223, 10 September 2005

USA: $1.5 million payout for safety whistleblower
A US federal court has awarded $1.5 million (£830,000) in damages to a painter who said he was the target of retaliation after he complained about workplace hazards.
Risks 219, 13 August 2005

Switzerland: Airline suspends 52 stressed whistleblowing pilots
Switzerland’s national airline Swiss has grounded and started disciplinary proceedings against 52 pilots after they raised concerns about how cockpit safety could be jeopardised by insecurity at the firm.
Risks 216, 23 July 2005

Britain: TUC calls for probe as tribunals plummet
The TUC has called for an investigation into a dramatic drop off in the number of employment tribunal cases after the introduction of new rules. Tribunals are the major route of redress for a number of workplace safety issues, particularly for safety reps.
Risks 215, 16 July 2005

Britain: Strike threat over victimisation of FBU safety rep
Firefighters are to vote on industrial action to defend a safety rep from victimisation.
Risks 215, 16 July 2005

Britain: Train drivers don’t have to stand the heat
Train drivers’ union ASLEF is urging its members not to tolerate dangerously high cab temperatures.
Risks 213, 2 July 2005

Britain: Union warns of offshore safety sackings
North Sea oil and gas workers are still being fired for raising safety concerns with their bosses, the union Amicus has said.
Risks 209, 4 June 2005

Britain: How to complain about safety issues
Feel your safety concerns haven't been taken seriously? The Centre for Corporate Accountability has produced a new guide to help individuals complain if they feel they have been let down by the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities, the police or the Crown Prosecution Service. The new web resource sets out how members of the public can complain about decisions made by government bodies on safety issues. It also explains how people can make a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Local Government Ombudsman.
18 January 2003, CCA webpage

Britain: NHS staff take the rap for speaking out
Health service staff are frightened to raise concerns, particularly about unsafe staffing levels, government targets and waiting lists, risks caused by other staff and a bullying culture, according to a new report.
Risks 105, 10 May 2003

Britain: Union activist reinstated by rail firm
A union activist whose demotion sparked a strike at a leading rail company has been reinstated as a train driver.
Greg Tucker won his claim for unfair dismissal against South West Trains last year after claiming he was victimised because of his activities for the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT). He was demoted to the post of revenue protection clerk after being accused by the company of serious safety lapses, charges the Tribunal dismissed as "implausible". RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that SWT had done the only honourable thing in reinstating Mr Tucker. An SWT spokesperson confirmed that Mr Tucker had taken up the offer of reinstatement.
Risks 104, 3 May 2003

Britain: Tube safety rep victimised for safety stand
Tube bosses have been accused of victimising a leading union safety representative in order to curb criticism of the Underground's poor safety record. Train drivers' union ASLEF says London Underground managers dismissed long-standing safety rep Adam Parker on trumped up charges.
Risks 93, 15 February 2003

Britain: Victimised rail safety rep wins sacking case
A train driver and RMT union safety rep victimised by South West Trains for his union activities has won his claim for unfair dismissal. An employment tribunal said Greg Tucker, 47, was unfairly dismissed and criticised some of the evidence against him for being "implausible", adding that he had been singled out for his trade union activities. In January, RMT members staged a two-day strike in protest at Mr Tucker's demotion, costing the company an estimated £9 million.
Risks 74, 5 October 2002

Britain: Safety whistleblower makes legal history
A former train driver who won his case for unfair dismissal after speaking out about breaches of safety at the rail operator Connex has made legal history. Former safety rep Laurie Holden has been awarded a total of £55,000, including £18,000 in aggravated damages and injury to his feelings. He resigned from the rail firm three years ago suffering from stress. He says he complained to managers about safety problems, including claims that drivers worked too many hours (Risks 43). A series of disciplinary hearings eventually led to his resignation. The tribunal described a 12-month campaign to force him out as "wholly unacceptable". Mr Holden's solicitor, Paul Maynard, said legal history had been made as it was the first time an award had been made for aggravated damages and injury to feelings in an unfair dismissal case.
Risks 50, 20 April 2002 BBC News Online

 

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