Occupational therapists at Greenwich council are celebrating victory in the ‘bullying culture’ dispute, as Unite, the country’s largest union, called for an inquiry into the background behind the row.
The therapists, members of Unite, took three days of strike action over alleged bullying and harassment, and the suspension of a work colleague accused of being too friendly with staff.
Following a council hearing, the occupational therapist, who was suspended on gross misconduct allegations after she made a complaint about bullying and harassment, has had the charges against her dropped.
Now Unite has called for the council bosses to explain why the ‘flimsy’ allegations were made in the first place and why the cash-strapped council had clocked up thousands of pounds in agency fees during the dispute.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “While we welcome the decision, there are now serious questions to be asked. The council’s case quickly collapsed once it came under the spotlight at a hearing where we were able to question the evidence.
“Under examination, council managers had difficulty specifying the allegations.
“We believe it is important in light of the collapse of the case and the clearly flimsy nature of the allegations and evidence, that those managers, who made the decision to suspend our member, explain themselves.
“While our member was suspended, the council paid an agency member of staff to provide cover. During this time of austerity, when resources are scarce and services cut, to waste money like this is inexcusable.
"I want to congratulate our Unite members at Greenwich. I am clear that it was strike action that forced the council to see sense. Our members should be proud that they stood for what is right and were prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with a victimised colleague."
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Onay Kasab on 07771 818637 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Notes to editors
• 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.