Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Supporters of sacked trade unionist, Charlotte Monro, cram into employment tribunal hearing

More than 50 people staged a demonstration outside the employment tribunal, Anchorage House, in the Docklands to protest in favour of sacked Unison representative Charlotte Monro.
An occupational therapist and moving and handling co-ordinator, Monro was dismissed on October 30 2013, after working at Whipps Cross hospital for the past 26 years.

The dismissal by Barts Health Trust followed an investigation that began after she addressed the local Waltham Forest scrutiny committee in her capacity as a union rep.
A charge that she had brought the Barts Health trust into disrepute was later dropped on appeal but the grounds of breaching confidentiality and non-disclosure of previous convictions were upheld.
Supporters of Monro crammed into the hearing room, causing relocation to a bigger room.
When the hearing began Simon Ashton, director of nursing therapies and governance at Barts Health Trust, was quizzed over the issue of confidentiality.
Monro’s legal team highlighted how an investigation report represented at her disciplinary hearing had been changed.
Ashton said that he could not confirm why it had been changed.
The legal team also claimed that a previous issue that occurred earlier had only been raised after she had spoken out in public to the scrutiny committee.
At the protest, Dr Ron Singer, a retired GP, declared that: “our campaign here is to support Charlotte Monro, who has suffered personal victimisation for trying to support the NHS.”
“Her treatment is symptomatic of the bullying of staff working in the NHS, who are trying to do their best for patients, while government cuts budgets.
“It is not just a fight for Charlotte but for all who work and seek to defend the NHS.”
Bob Archer, secretary of Redbridge Trades Council and president of Redbridge NUT, expressed his concern that anyone who uses their freedom of speech to speak out gets “victimised by a vindicative management.”
Retired nurse Jan Blake cited the Monro case as symptomatic of the bullying culture developing in the NHS over recent years. “At the last board meeting, the Barts Trust admitted a bullying culture in their hospital,” said Blake, who also highlighted the pressure on the Trust of having to serve a PFI debt.
John McLaughlin, branch secretary of Tower Hamlets Unison, said: “This case is important for all trade unionists and those who want to defend the NHS.”
Terry Day, a user of Whipps Cross hospital, described the sacking of Monro as “an outrageous injustice.”
“The Barts Trust decided to get rid of someone who was trying to get proper transparency on the changes being made and the damage that could be done to the service,” said Day.

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