Hazards victimisation news archive
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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
news release • 15 September 2007
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
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
Age • ABC
News • Christian
Today • ABC
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
news release • 21 July 2007
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.
news release • 14 July 2007
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.”
news release • 7 July 2007
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
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
Risks 274, 16 September 2006
‘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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Risks 230, 29 October 2005
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
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
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
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
Risks 215, 16 July 2005
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
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
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
Risks 209, 4 June 2005
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.
January 2003, CCA webpage
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.
105, 10 May 2003
Union activist reinstated by rail firm
A union activist whose demotion sparked
a strike at a leading rail company has been reinstated as a
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
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.
104, 3 May 2003
Tube safety rep victimised for safety
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.
93, 15 February 2003
Victimised rail safety rep wins sacking
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.
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
50, 20 April 2002 BBC News Online
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