Birmingham health & safety rep’s ‘fire alarm’ aler...

Birmingham health & safety rep’s ‘fire alarm’ alert leads to sacking by drug charity

27 April 2016

A health and safety rep working for Birmingham’s leading drug and alcohol abuse charity, CGL has been sacked after pointing out fire hazards that could have cost colleagues’ lives, Unite, the country’s largest union, said.
Unite is calling for the immediate reinstatement of Alison Morris, a drugs referral team leader with a 14-year exemplary record working for the NHS and the charity, which the union, says has a strong anti-union bias.
Alison Morris was summarily dismissed earlier this month from her Reach Out Recovery job, following her joint inspection with a fire brigade officer at the charity’s city centre Scala House office in January when fire alarms were found not to be working.
She reported that the building may be closed, if the problem was not sorted the following day. Senior management said she said it would close – and this, according to the bosses, constituted as allegedly intentionally misleading management. Unite strongly disputes what the management claimed Alison said.
Unite regional officer Caren Evans said: “This is one of the most extraordinary cases I have come across in my experience. Alison should have been praised for going the extra mile in her own time to protect her colleagues from death in fire, not dismissed for carrying out her duties.
“Tomorrow (Thursday 28 April) on International Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember those who have died at work and celebrate the protections given us by the 1974 Health and Safety Act, we should not be having to fight to reinstate a colleague who has merely undertaken her duties under that Act.
“Alison was transferred from the NHS in March 2015 to CGL and now she has been treated in the most horrendous way by a draconian management which has a vibrant anti-union bias.
“We are calling for Alison’s immediate reinstatement after what can only be described as a drumhead court martial. Unite has lodged an appeal against the sacking and Alison’s case has gone to Unite legal services to lodge an unfair dismissal claim should Alison not be re-instated.”
Unite said that the 300-strong workforce in Birmingham backed Alison’s immediate reinstatement – and if this did not happen, an industrial action ballot is on the cards. Unite is the sole recognised union at CGL.

Photo opportunity: demonstration by colleagues and Unite activists to reinstate Alison Morris at Holloway Circus, Birmingham B1 1BT tomorrow (Thursday) between 12:00–14:00.

Alison will be available for photos, but won’t be giving interviews to the media while her appeal is pending.
Notes to editors:
CGL is in the top 40 charities in the country. It  took over 28 different contracts rolled into one on 1 March 2015 to become the single provider of drug and alcohol treatment services in Birmingham.
Its website says: ‘We are a leading charity providing treatment and support to over 55,000 vulnerable people in England and Wales every day. We champion people who have faced hardships like abuse, homelessness and addiction, and empower them to lead the lives they want, on their terms.’

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.   
Unite legal services acts for over 20,000 members a year and recovered over £160 million in damages last year. Unite legal services provides support to members in respect of all types of employment tribunal claims. Unite legal services have taken the most high profile of employment cases over the last 12 months, regularly supporting representatives victimised in the workplace.

Unite legal services recently won the holiday pay case allowing workers to receive their normal pay in their times of rest, this win alone was worth tens of millions in compensation for Unite members.

Unite legal services guarantee that members always receive 100 per cent of their damages.

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.