WorkRep took the case to the Manchester Employment Tribunal.
Jeff is known for his being a calm and polite person, someone who avoids trouble and gets on with the job.
Jeff had however recently asked for voluntary redundancy when this had been offered in the company.
Elsie Parkinson, Works Manager, and the subject of complaints, and at least one disciplinary in the past for verbally abusing workers, took umbrage at Jeff for having dared to glance through the office window at the higher mortals lounging around inside. Although Jeff was only one of a number of people in the area, Elsie started shouting and swearing at him, and then followed Jeff back to his machine. Elsie carried on swearing and shouting at Jeff while he worked.
When Jeff couldn’t take any more, he retreated to the men’s toilets.
Jeff was then accused of having left his machine without permission! For good measure, he was also accused of throwing company equipment on the floor, and having “used abusive and threatening language” to his manager.
At an impromptu ‘disciplinary meeting’, the next day Mr Brayzier spent a few minutes in going through the motions, and then dismissed Jeff.
After hearing the evidence, the Manchester Employment Tribunal declared that ‘there was no Gross Misconduct, or any other misconduct’ on the part of Jeff , and went on to say that he was unfairly dismissed in order that Brayzier could save paying him his redundancy money.
Jeff approached his union for help, but it would not represent him. His union left him to be thrown out without so much as getting his P45 for him. Jeff was refused benefits for months because of the lack of the P45 and pay slips.
Dave Greenstein of Workrep says that he has seen too many cases of unions not supporting their members. It is true, that much of the Thatcherite anti-union legislation is still on the books, but there is also a growing body of legislation protecting workers rights that can be used in defence of workers (mostly adopted into UK law in compliance with European Directives). Where workers have a potential case, some unions need to be more assertive in negotiation and in using the law to defend their members at tribunal. Unions need to finally get Thatcher out of their system.
Ian Brayzier, ex-owner of Brayziers Technical Tubes will not be able to read this report just yet. He’s currently earning a well deserved rest on a skiing trip in the Austrian Alps. Whilst sliding down the slopes, slippery Brayzier, breaker of agreements, and unjust employer, will maybe spare a thought for the many workers thrown on to the dole recently when one of his companies went bust.
www.workrep.co.uk only represents workers.