The Health and Safety Report

January 28, 2010

This is the report that Penny Gower, the victimised Health and Safety Representative was disciplined for carrying out.  It is a thorough and professional job.  Download to see how health and safety inspections should be carried out! Click here – HS_Report_2_4_091

Summing up by Penny’s counsel

January 13, 2010

EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL, SCOTLAND

SUBMISSIONS for CLAIMANT

In Case Nos: 110718/2008 and 109268/2009

Claimant – Ms Penny Gower

Respondent – Carnegie College

Introduction

There are two conjoined cases:

A In Case No: 110718/2008, the claimant seeks compensation for the detriment suffered by her when she was disciplined with the sole or main purpose of preventing or deterring her from taking part in the activities of her union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (“EIS”), at an appropriate time, or penalising her for doing so, contrary to s146 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”) following what has become known as “the Glenochil incident” on 1st October 2007.

B In Case No: 109268/2009 (which followed on from an application for interim relief under case no 108491/2009), the claimant seeks reinstatement following her unfair dismissal with effect from 1st May 2009. The claimant maintains that her dismissal was unfair in three broad respects:

a)      She was dismissed, contrary to s. 152 of TULRCA, for the reason that she had taken part, or proposed to take part, in the activities of her union, the EIS, i.e. to conduct an inspection of the Carnegie College workplace at Cowdenbeath, or to conduct similar inspections in future, at an appropriate time, contrary to s. 152 of TULRCA, and was thus automatically unfairly dismissed;

b)      Alternatively she was dismissed, contrary to s.100(1)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA”), for the reason that, as the EIS Health & Safety Representative for  Carnegie College, she performed or proposed to perform functions as such a representative, i.e., to conduct an inspection of the Carnegie College workplace at Cowdenbeath, or to conduct similar inspections in future, and was thus automatically unfairly dismissed;

c)      Alternatively she was dismissed unfairly, contrary to s. 98(4) of ERA, in that the decision to dismiss her at the time when that decision was made was

  1. i.      outwith the band of reasonable responses which a reasonable employer might have adopted in the circumstances; and, in any event,
  2. ii.      the respondent failed to follow its own or any other reasonable procedure in reaching the decision to dismiss the claimant.

Issues

A         The Glenochil Incident

  1. Why was the claimant disciplined following the Glenochil incident?
  2. If for an unpermitted reason, what detriment did she suffer?
  3. What amount is appropriate to compensate for that detriment?

B          The Dismissal

  1. What was the reason, or the principal reason, for the dismissal?
  2. Was that reason a breach of s.152 of TULRCA (Trade Union activities), a breach of s.100(1)(b) of ERA (Health & Safety), or straightforward unfair dismissal? Or a combination of these?
  3. Did the claimant cause or contribute in any way to her dismissal?
  4. Is it practicable for the respondent to comply with an order for re-instatement, or re-engagement?
  5. What is an appropriate level of compensation to the claimant?

Evidence

Evidence was heard over 16 days. In the second section below, I make certain contentions about the conclusions to be drawn by the tribunal. In this first section below, I invite the tribunal to make certain findings in fact, many of which appear to be uncontentious between the parties. First, however, I invite the tribunal to consider all the witnesses who gave evidence as credible in what they said. All gave evidence to the best of their recollection. Some (in particular, I suggest, the principal, Mr McIntosh) were more vague than others in their evidence.

In my submission, however, particular attention should be paid to the evidence of Mr Laidlaw, Ms Brash, and the claimant, as being the best evidence of the Glenochil incident.

The evidence of Mr Bowstead and Mr Neilson, I suggest, provides the greatest insight into the meeting of senior management and members of the Board with their advisors on 31st March.

The evidence of Bryony Innes, the Claimant, and Louise Wilson, I suggest, provides a clear picture of events at the dismissal hearing.

I reject any suggestion that the claimant’s evidence was other than honest, and accurate to the best of her ability. In my submission the criticisms made of her evidence are overstated. Similar criticism may be made of almost all the witnesses. For example, Mr Neilson and Mr Bowstead give evidence of the meeting on 31st March which differs to some extent, but not such as to disturb the thread of similarity which runs through it. In my submission, the same view should be taken of the evidence of the claimant and all other witnesses.

For example, the suggestion that the claimant’s recollection of when she resolved not to go ahead with the Glenochil inspection is consistent with Ms Brash’s recollection. The witness whose evidence is inconsistent is Mr Thomas. His evidence can be explained by a lapse of memory – more likely in his case than in the case of the claimant or Ms Brash for both of whom the Glenochil incident was much more significant.

Against the background of those general comments, I turn to what I contend should be included among the tribunal’s findings in fact:

Proposed Findings in Fact

The claimant

  1. The claimant was employed by the respondent with effect from 1st April 2000.
  2. Her employment terminated with effect from 1st May 2009.
  3. At date of termination of employment, the claimant’s net monthly salary was £812.70. (Tab 98)
  4. She was employed as a part time lecturer within the respondents’ Prison Education Unit. This Unit provided education and learning facilities within special units at prison establishments at Edinburgh, Perth, Glenochil, and Cornton Vale. The claimant’s place of work was Saughton Prison, Edinburgh.
  5. The respondent had no concerns about the claimant’s abilities or conduct in that teaching role.
  6. Throughout her employment with the respondent, the claimant was also employed part time by Stevenson College as a lecturer in Health & Safety.
  7. Throughout her employment with the respondent the claimant was an active member of the EIS. She held various roles within that Union, including membership of the National Executive, prior to 2007.
  8. From about 19th June 2000 until about 23rd January 2009, the claimant was the EIS Health & Safety Representative for the Prisons Education Unit within Carnegie College, and was acknowledged by the respondents as such. (Tab 10)
  9. Throughout the remainder of her employment, the claimant was the EIS Health & Safety Representative for the  whole of Carnegie College, and was acknowledged by the respondents as such. (Tab 53)
  10. In each of these roles, the claimant carried out the functions of a safety representative as set out in the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (“the 1977 Regs”)
  11. In February 2008, the claimant became unfit to work at Saughton Prison due to depression and anxiety. She remained able to work at Stevenson College, and to attend disciplinary and grievance hearings. She returned to work in late January 2009.
  12. Since termination of her employment, the claimant has sought other part time employment to take the place of her employment with the respondent, but without success.

The respondent

  1. The respondent is a Further Education College based at Dunfermline. Until about 2008, it was known as Lauder College. It employs about 500 staff over a number of sites in East Central Scotland. Throughout the claimant’s employment with the respondent, the respondent’s staff were organised in ‘Schools’. During the period up until the end of 2007, the Prison Education Unit was part of the respondent’s School of Access and Communities. The Head of School was, until 2006/7, Julie Tindal.
  2. The claimant’s line manager was Ian Henderson. Ian Henderson’s line manager was Martin Laidlaw, the Contract Manager for the respondent’s contract to supply education and learning to the Scottish Prison Service.
  3. Mr Laidlaw was the respondent’s manager responsible for Health & Safety matters within the Prison Education Unit in 2007, the time of the Glenochil Incident.
  4. In 2009, the Assistant Principal, David Neilson, was the respondent’s manager responsible for Health & Safety matters for the whole of the respondents’ business.
  5. The Principal of the respondent College was, from late 2006 to date, Bill McIntosh.

The Glenochil Incident

  1. On 18th September 2007, the claimant sent a Memo to the Governor of HMP Glenochil, and 10 others. That memo set out: (a) that she had concerns about a health and safety issue at Glenochil, and (b) that she intended to carry out a general inspection of the Learning Centre there in 1st October 2007. (Tab 28) Mr Laidlaw did not receive that until about 25th September.
  2. On 27th September, Mr Laidlaw sent a memo to the claimant, and to Julie Tindal, advising the claimant that sending her memo directly to the Governor completely ignored the respondent’s health & safety protocols, was outwith the claimant’s authority, was something she had been requested not to do, and that because of that he was seeking advice on whether to take the matter to a disciplinary stage. In the meantime, he also instructed the claimant not to undertake her proposed inspection. (Tab 29)
  3. The claimant received and read the memo while on the train to Glenochil.
  4. She did not carry out the inspection, but she did meet staff and discuss with them health & safety issues over their lunchtime.
  5. As it was happening, Ms Brash (the manager of the respondents’ Glenochil Learning Centre) reported to Mr Laidlaw that the meeting was going on.
  6. He told her to have the claimant stop the meeting. The claimant refused, and refused to speak to Mr Laidlaw by phone.
  7. As a result of this, Mr Laidlaw was irritated and annoyed. (Mr Laidlaw’s evidence in chief)
  8. Some staff at the meeting were upset at being put in between the management and their union.
  9. Mr Laidlaw encouraged them, if they were concerned about the matter, to write a memo of complaint.
  10. He asked Donald McIvor, Personnel Manager, whether disciplinary action could be investigated.
  11. Mr McIvor told him it could. He told Mr Laidlaw the offence would be refusing to comply with a management instruction and not complying with the respondents’ strategic approach of working together. (Mr Laidlaw’s evidence in chief)
  12. On 3rd October 2007, the claimant lodged a Grievance complaining of (a) lack of consultation over health & safety matters, (b) restriction in her health & safety representative role, and (c) being impeded in carrying out inspections, including the Glenochil incident, and threatened with disciplinary action. (Tab 32/1)
  13. The Grievance was rejected at a meeting on 17th December 2007 (Tab 32/3). Subsequent appeals did not affect this outcome except to the extent that it was considered steps could be taken to improve health & safety communications (Tab 32/9).
  14. On 10th December 2007,  the claimant was asked to attend a disciplinary hearing concerning 2 allegations –  (1) failure to comply with a management instruction; and (2) breach of the staff code of conduct. (Tab 31/14)
  15. The first allegation was partially upheld, and the second allegation was upheld. The claimant received a formal written warning. (Tab 31/37). Subsequent appeals did not change this decision.

Events between the Glenochil Incident and the Dismissal

  1. The claimant was first signed off work through illness with effect from 18th February 2008. She consulted her GP with symptoms of depression and anxiety caused by “work stress” and “conflict”. (Tab 103, p.8)
  2. She attributed this to a realisation that “management were determined to discipline her”.
  3. A further contributing factor stemmed from her witnessing an incident of threatened violence between 2 prisoners at Saughton.
  4. This condition prevented her from attending work at Saughton Prison. However, the claimant was able to continue working at Stevenson College, and to attend various disciplinary and grievance hearings, before she was eventually considered fit to return to work at Saughton in January 2009.
  5. While off sick, the claimant lodged a second grievance dated 11th June 2008, essentially repeating (but in greater detail) her complaint that she had suffered a detriment for carrying out her health & safety representative role. That grievance was upheld in part by Assistant Principal, Janet McAuslin, on 20th June 2008. (Tab 33)
  6. On 17th November 2008, the Principal heard the claimant’s appeal against that decision. The claimant found the principal’s robust approach stressful.
  7. Meanwhile there were tribunal proceedings. On 5th August 2008, an ET1 in respect of the Glenochil incident was presented to the Employment Tribunal. (Tab 1) After a response was lodged on 4th September 2008, the dispute was referred to mediation which concluded unsuccessfully on 23rd March 2009. (Tab 5/3)
  8. Tabs 51, 52, and 53 contain examples of comments by members of the management team which suggest a disparaging attitude toward the claimant.

Events after the claimant became fit to return to work in January 2009

  1. On about 23rd January 2009, the claimant was elected EIS Health & Safety Representative for the whole of the respondent College. (Tab 53)
  2. She, her line manager, and Mr Neilson were all aware that she could not recommence teaching at Saughton Prison until she had completed training, eventually scheduled for end-April 2009. (Tab 61/2, Tab 68)
  3. On 13th February, the claimant gave notice of her intention to commence a general health & safety inspection of the College on 2nd March. (Tab 58/1)
  4. On 23rd February 2009, the claimant met Mr Neilson to discuss the health & safety situation at the College. On 25th February, he wrote to the claimant describing a failure to agree on what would amount to a reasonable time to carry out her role. He mentioned he had spoken to an officer of the Health & Safety Executive (David Stephen), and proposed that the claimant carry out her role for half a day per week, on Friday afternoons. (Tab 61)
  5. The claimant sent a substantive reply by memo dated 3rd March 2009. She raised objections to the proposed time to be allowed, and intimated that in the meantime she would resume the general inspection on Monday 9th March. (Tab 63/2, and /5 and /6)
  6. By letter dated 6th March, Mr Neilson repeated his view that the claimant should carry out her role for half a day per week, and asked the claimant to teach a class on 9th March. (Tab 64) (By this time, Mr Neilson had received an e-mail from Mr Stephen of HSE. (Tab 65/2) )
  7. The claimant did not receive that letter until she arrived home after carrying out the inspection at Rosyth. (Tab 67/1)
  8. By e-mail dated 9th March, the claimant lodged a Grievance concerning the failure to agree that she should carry out the general inspection. (Tab 67/2)
  9. On 14th March, having met Mr Stephen, the claimant again sought to complete the general inspection. (Tab 69) Mr Neilson replied by letter dated 17th March (because of difficulties with emails) to say Mr Stephen had now agreed that a half day per site per 3 months was not unreasonable, and to require the claimant to reschedule her next part of her inspection from Monday 30th March to a Friday afternoon. (Tab 72) [Incidentally, the last paragraph of Tab 72/1 makes it clear, I suggest, that the respondent was fully aware that the claimant’s intimations of a general inspection included intimation of inspection of the premises at Cowdenbeath]
  10. Bryony Innes (Head of HR and development) repeated that expectation by letter dated Wednesday 25th March. ( Tab 75)
  11. On 16th March, the claimant’s memo of 14th March (Tab 69 – see para 48) was copied by Bryony Innes to other managers with the comment, “She is right that we are finding her things to do until she returns to the prisons…” . (Tab 71)
  12. By e-mail also dated 25th March, (not having received the letter from Bryony Innes, but having received the letter from Mr Neilson) the Claimant repeated her intention to continue the inspection on Monday 30th March. (Tab 76/1) Mr Neilson responded by email of 26th March repeating that the inspection should take place on a Friday morning, and not on Monday 30th March. (Tab 76/3)
  13. On Friday 27th March the claimant replied to Bryony Innes’ letter (tab 75 – see para 41) making clear that she would continue her inspection on Monday 30th March. She set out reasons why she considered that reasonable. (Tab 78)
  14. The claimant continued her inspection at Cowdenbeath on Monday 30th March.
  15. By letter dated Wednesday 1st April, Bryony Innes replied to the claimant’s letter of 27th March. She set out reasons why the respondent considered their position on time taken to carry out the claimant’s health & safety role was reasonable.(Tab 78 – see para 43)

The Dismissal

  1. On 31st March, there was a meeting attended by the principal, Mr Neilson, Ms Innes, some members of  the respondents’ Board of Management (including the Chairman, Mr Bowstead, but not including the local EIS representative, Mr Watt), and the college’s legal advisors.
  2. The purpose of the meeting was to consider and seek legal advice on how to bring the situation with the claimant to a head.
  3. The meeting had been arranged prior to the claimant’s inspection at Cowdenbeath. Nevertheless, the conclusion reached at that meeting was that disciplinary action should be taken against the claimant unless there was good reason why she had gone to Cowdenbeath the previous day. It was also resolved not to allow an appeal against a decision to dismiss her.
  4. A Mike Holness had complained of the claimant’s visit on inspection without warning to him. A Marion Scott was asked by Bryony Innes to speak to him and obtain details of his complaint. There was no further investigation. There was no investigation into the reason why the claimant considered she should carry on with her inspection.
  5. By letter dated 6th April, the claimant was asked to attend a disciplinary hearing concerning allegations about her inspection at Cowdenbeath. The claimant was on holiday and did not return until late in April. At the request of her representative, the disciplinary hearing was postponed from Monday 27th April until Friday 1st May. (Tab 84, Tab 85)
  6. The hearing lasted approx. 2 hours, including an adjournment. At the hearing, the claimant’s representative was not permitted to question  any witnesses. She was not permitted to complete her summing up. The Principal, who conducted the hearing, was only concerned to know whether the claimant had gone to Cowdenbeath to carry out an inspection or not. After a short adjournment, he advised the claimant that she was summarily dismissed. She was not permitted to appeal against that decision.

Proposed Conclusions from the facts

There is difference between the parties as to what to make of certain aspects of the evidence. As will be seen, this goes to the heart of the dispute in this case. The following areas are likely to be in dispute:

  1. The reason why the claimant was disciplined following the Glenochil incident.
  2. The reason why the claimant was dismissed.
  3. The extent to which the illness which caused the claimant’s absence from work was caused by the respondents’ treatment of her.
  4. The extent to which the claimant contributed to her dismissal.

I invite the tribunal to adopt the following conclusions:

  1. The claimant’s approach to her role as EIS Health & Safety Representative for the Prisons Education Unit was such that she considered she had a right to inspect premises for Health & Safety purposes on giving reasonable notice to the parties involved. The respondent considered she should be required to obtain approval for such inspections through her managers, and not simply advise the parties concerned (including the prison governor) of her intention to inspect. The claimant was disciplined following the Glenochil incident because Mr Laidlaw wished to penalise her for carrying out her Health & Safety role as she considered appropriate.
  2. The claimant was ultimately dismissed for a similar reason. She considered she should complete her general inspection of the respondent’s premises (a major undertaking) before she re-commenced her teaching role. She considered she was entitled to carry out such an inspection on giving notice to that effect. The respondent, on the other hand, considered she should only carry out that inspection at a time acceptable to them. The claimant was dismissed because she failed to abide by the respondent’s wishes in that respect.
  1. The claimant’s illness was caused firstly by the respondents’ disciplinary proceedings against her. A secondary cause was the incident between prisoners in her presence.
  1. The claimant contributed to her dismissal to the extent that she continued to maintain her right to inspect at a time she considered reasonable. She did nothing wrong or unreasonable in maintaining that right. She was not warned this was to be considered misconduct. She was not warned there was a danger that she may be dismissed as a consequence. The disciplinary proceedings came as a shock to her and to her union advisor, Louise Wilson. The respondents’ senior management team decided at a meeting on 31st March that her employment should end if she did not comply with their view on the time to be taken in her Health & Safety role. From that point on, there was nothing she could have done to prevent her dismissal other than to comply with the respondents’ requirements that she carry out her role as they required.

Application of the relevant law

The Glenochil Incident

A number of principles are relevant to the circumstances of the Glenochil incident:

  1. Trade union activities as described in section 146 of TULRCA must be construed in a broad and reasonable way. (Post Office v Union of Post Office Workers  & another [1974] IRLR 22)
  2. The lunch period at work is ‘an appropriate time’ for the purposes of s. 146. (Post Office v Union of Post Office Workers & another [1974] IRLR 22)
  3. Behaviour  forming part of a trade union activity which may be considered ‘frustrating’ or ‘annoying’ or ‘irritating’, provided it is not dishonest or in bad faith, does not remove the protection afforded by s. 146. (Bass Taverns Ltd v Burgess [1995] IRLR 596)

In light of these principles and the first conclusion I propose above, the respondent is in breach of s. 146. The claimant was disciplined for continuing with the meeting to discuss health & safety issues at Glenochil over the staff lunch break. That was a trade union activity at an appropriate time.

The claimant is entitled to  a remedy under s. 149 of TULRCA in respect of that breach.  The amount of compensation should take account of injury to feelings and psychiatric injury caused to the claimant as described in Dr Wyllie’s report. The considerations set out in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] IRLR 102 are relevant. The circumstances of this case disclose chronic breach of the protection afforded by s. 146, and substantial injury to the claimant’s feelings, including causing her to become depressed. Dr Wyllie opined in evidence that the claimant’s injury was more severe than it might have been because of the value placed by her on her Health & Safety role. The injury to her by criticism of that role, and attempts to penalise her for carrying it out justifies an award in the medium to high band of compensation described in Vento.

Compensation in such circumstances also carries with it an element of penalty in the circumstances of breach of s. 146. (See Skiggs v South West Trains Ltd UKEAT/0763/03)

The Dismissal

What was the reason, or the principal reason, for the dismissal?

Whether this is considered as a dismissal contrary to s. 152 of TULRCA, or a dismissal contrary to s.100(1)(b) of ERA, or a dismissal contrary to s. 98(4) of ERA, the first task of the tribunal is to ascertain the reason, or the principal reason, for the dismissal.

Such an innocuous question contains, I suspect, the essence of the difference between the parties in this case. Dismissal contrary to s. 100 of ERA (for Health & Safety Reasons) is not the same as dismissal contrary to s. 98 of ERA.

The latter (or ‘ordinary’) type of protection against dismissal is an attempt to protect all employees from unfair treatment. Its purpose is general. There is no protection from discrimination of any kind.

The former, however, through Section 100 of  ERA, stems from the European Framework Directive on Health & Safety ( Directive 89/931/EC). Article 11 of that Directive contains provisions to prevent a trade union representative on health & safety, such as the claimant, from being placed at a disadvantage because of her activities. In other words, its purpose is to prevent discrimination against trade union representatives such as the claimant. (See Shillito v Van leer (UK) Ltd [1997] IRLR 495)

In keeping with that different purpose, the consideration of what is the reason for the dismissal must also be considered differently. Unlike dismissal under s. 98 of ERA, there is no requirement of unreasonableness for automatic unfair dismissal under s. 100. If the dismissal is for the reason that the claimant performed some function as a trade union health & safety representative, that is unfair dismissal.

With that explanation of the approach to the reason for dismissal, some assistance may be gleaned from the decision in the race discrimination case, Amnesty International v Ahmed [2009] IRLR 884, (see para 32). Where there is no requirement to consider ‘reasonableness’, asking what ‘the reason for’ an action such as dismissal (particularly when one is considering a discriminatory dismissal) is no different from seeking to ascertain the ground or grounds for the act complained of.

In the present case, the question of ‘the reason for’ the claimant’s dismissal falls to be considered not by asking whether the respondent has shown that the respondent in dismissing the claimant was not actuated by antipathy toward the claimant’s role, but rather by asking whether the claimant would have been dismissed had she not been seeking to carry out her health & safety role. The issue must be resolved with the purpose of preventing the claimant from being placed at a disadvantage because of her health & safety role.

I contend that, when looked at in that way, it is beyond dispute that the reason for her dismissal was that the claimant performed, or proposed to perform her function as a health & safety representative by continuing her inspection at Cowdenbeath.

Had she not done so, she would not have been dismissed.

In all these circumstances, I contend the claimant was automatically unfairly dismissed contrary to S. 100 of ERA.

I make no separate submission in respect of dismissal in breach of s. 152 of TULRCA. I observe, however, that although similar general considerations apply, they are not founded upon the Directive described above.

Unfair dismissal under s. 98

If the tribunal is not with me on that principal submission, it appears conceded by the respondent that the claimant was unfairly dismissed under s. 98 of ERA.

I say that such dismissal was not simply procedurally unsound, but was fundamentally unreasonable, contrary to s. 98(4).

As is plain, I contend,  from Regulation 5(1) of the 1977 Regulations, (Tab 100) the claimant was doing nothing wrong in seeking to exercise her right to inspect Cowdenbeath on a day suitable to her.

She was unable to carry out her contracted role as a teacher at Saughton Prison.

Regulation 5(1) sets out that “Safety representatives shall be entitled to inspect the workplace or a part of it if they have given the employer or his representative reasonable notice in writing of their intention to do so, and have not inspected it, or that part of it, as the case may be, in the previous three months….”

The claimant was not acting unreasonably in continuing with her inspection, in spite of the protestations of Mr Neilson. The Regulations gave her the right to do so. She sought to resolve the matter without a confrontation, but to no avail.

Throughout the discussions, and exchanges of memos, letters and emails, described under the heading “Events after the claimant became fit to return to work in January 2009”, the tone adopted by both the claimant and the respondent’s managers was one of negotiation. Each sought to persuade the other that their approach to the issue of when to complete the general inspection was reasonable. There was no strident tone from the claimant. There was no threat of disciplinary proceedings from the respondents’ managers.

However, it may be thought surprising that Mr Neilson, who had no teaching responsibilities, decided the claimant should teach on the day she sought to continue her inspection. The comment that “…we are just finding things for her to do.” May also be considered surprising.

In my submission, rather than the claimant acting unreasonably during that period, it was the respondents’ managers who were doing so. It was not necessary for the respondent to behave in this manner toward the claimant. They were clearly concerned to have her role carried out in a manner they considered appropriate. That, however, should have been a matter of negotiation, not imposition. The respondents had channels of communication with the EIS other than the claimant. They chose not to use them.

In all the circumstances, the claimant was not acting unreasonably in seeking to continue her inspection. The respondents may have found her behaviour ‘intense’ or ‘frustrating’ but it was not, in my contention, so unreasonable as to contribute at all to her dismissal.

In any event, I contend that the claimant was dismissed with complete and wilful disregard for any fair procedure. It was decided before she was asked to a disciplinary hearing that her employment should terminate if she had been at Cowdenbeath without a reason other than to inspect. The ‘investigation’ and the dismissal hearing were a complete sham. It had been decided in advance of the hearing that there would be no appeal. In my submission, this procedure was so flawed that this was not simply a matter of procedural irregularity. The dismissal was pre-determined. It was entirely contrary to natural justice. In these circumstances, no ‘Polkey’ reduction is appropriate. (See Software 2000 Ltd v Andrews & Others [2007] IRLR 568)

Remedy

In all these circumstances, I contend the claimant is entitled to a remedy for her unfair dismissal. She seeks re-instatement. There has, in my submission been no contribution to the dismissal by her. The evidence suggests it should be possible for her to return to her role as a teacher in Saughton Prison. Her line manager was not involved in this dispute. Her role has not, apparently, been filled. The respondent is a large organisation with professional senior managers. It should be possible for them to rise above any personal feelings of frustration they may have had and accept the claimant’s reinstatement to her role at Saughton Prison.

If the tribunal does not agree with this contention, then compensation falls to be awarded. In my submission there should be no reduction in compensation for the reasons set out above. Similarly, should it be accepted that dismissal was for health & safety reasons, an award of more than purely financial loss is appropriate. ( See Skiggs above)

The claimant has not found alternative employment. She is unlikely to do so in the short term. In the circumstances, and award of compensation for the period from termination of employment until October 2010 (start of a new academic session) is appropriate.

AUTHORITIES for CLAIMANT

In Case Nos: 110718/2008 and 109268/2009

Claimant – Ms Penny Gower

Respondent – Carnegie College

  1. Post Office v Union of Post Office Workers  & another [1974] IRLR 22
  2. Bass Taverns Ltd v Burgess [1995] IRLR 596
  3. European Framework Directive on Health & Safety ( Directive 89/931/EC)
  4. Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] IRLR 102
  5. Skiggs v South West Trains Ltd UKEAT/0763/03
  6. Software 2000 Ltd v Andrews & Others [2007] IRLR 568

Urgent Update – Last day of appeal Monday

December 15, 2009

For those of you were thinking of making it along to Penny’s tribunal to show your support, things have moved on unexpectedly quickly. College Management’s Counsel had NO questions for the TU reps who gave evidence in her support today. (A good sign as the Carnegie reps were excellent and didn’t miss and hit the wall. So, Management’s side wanted them off the stand as soon as possible.)
Therefore, the court got through all the witnesses double quick. This means it’s all over bar the shouting (and there’ll be plenty of that). So, the next date scheduled is Monday morning 21 December which will be for the summing up by both sides. This should be interesting to those who like hearing legal arguments and an overview. Visitors will need to be at 54 Melville St, Edinburgh by 9.55am on Monday 21 December at the latest, to get a place in the public seats.
If you can’t make it till the afternoon, please check that is still on and at what time the tribunal resumes (any time between 1pm and 2pm as the lunchtime varies) by texting 07812 442910. Someone will get back to you asap on the day.
Your support has been very much appreciated by Penny. Please keep the emails of protest pouring in. (mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, cc’d to rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk and pennygower1@googlemail.com. The judgment won’t be till end of January at the earliest.  If you can make it along in person, you would be very welcome indeed on the last day of this tribunal to make it clear to all that it is not acceptable to summarily dismiss a health and safety rep for carrying out a workplace inspection.
Yours fraternally
Alan Ferguson, EIS FELA President.

MESSAGES FROM AUSTRALIA AND US, IN PROTEST AT SACKING OF PENNY GOWER

December 15, 2009

From: Manfred Ecker, mecker@chello.at

Date: 1 November 2009, 11.55am

To: pennygower1@googlemail.com

Subject: MESSAGE OF PROTEST FROM VIENNA

Hello Professor McIntosh,

I am an Austrian veterinary surgeon living in Vienna. You will please forgive my English, but I was interested to read about what happens in Scotland regarding your actions.

I am astounded that you thought you could behave in this way, to sack a trade union safety representative when he carried out his legal functions. I sincerely hope that you will personally be prosecuted criminally for your actions, as the health and safety legislation we have in common across Europe, cannot be flouted in this regard.

If you are using public money to defend the indefencible, will you pay it back out of your own pockets? I have read about Andrew Carnegie as well as the new name for your College. It is clear that he has exploits as a trade union buster. Is that your ethos? You wish to be known for this, your brutality? If so, you have succeeded surely. Remember that Andrew Carnegie was not welcome in any places after what he did with his workers. You also have stepped over a line.

The world is watching you, not from admiration, but disgust. I will make it sure that details of your actions are circulated in Austria.

Yours faithfully,

Manfred Ecker

From: Punnett, Laura <Laura_Punnett@uml.edu>
Date: Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 4:30 AM
Subject: Protest unjust firing of Penny Gower
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Dear Professor McIntosh:

I am a professor of occupational health and safety and a member of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association.  I am contacting you to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, last May after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection.  This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

I urge you to move quickly to reinstate Penny Gower.

Yours sincerely,

Laura Punnett, Sc.D.
Professor, Department of Work Environment
Co-Director, Center to Promote Health in the New England Workplace (CPHNEW)
Senior Associate, Center for Women and Work (CWW)
University of Massachusetts Lowell
One University Avenue
Lowell, MA  01854  USA
Tel: 1-978-934-3269,-3250; Fax: 1-978-452-5711

———————————————————————————————————–From: Renata Musolino <RMusolino@vthc.org.au>
Date: Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 11:41 PM
Subject: Re-instate Penny Gower
To: “mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
Cc: “rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, “pennygower1@googlemail.com” <pennygower1@googlemail.com>

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you, all the way from Australia, to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 allegedly after she had completed a workplace health and safety inspection. In Britain, as it is in Australia, elected reps are entitiled to carry out workplace inspections in order to identify hazards, speak to workers, and so on.  This is a core, legally protected, safety representative right and it is totally unacceptable that this action led to her dismissal.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and OHS activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Renata Musolino,OHS Information and Website Officer, VTHC OHS Unit, www.ohsrep.org.au

———————————————————————————————————-From: Tony Del Plato <tonydelplato@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 12:07 AM
Subject: Penny Gower
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Dear Professor McIntosh,

Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, was fired in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This seems hard to believe in this day and age especially since this is a core, legally protected, safety representative function. It is outrageous that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case has rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting. I like to think that education, especially higher education, makes for a more thoughtful and compassionate society. Am I wrong?

You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Del Plato

Health & Safety Trainer
Midstate Education & Service Foundation
123 South Cayuga Street, Suite 204
Ithaca, New York 14850
United States

—————————————————————————————————————From: Cody Potter <cpotter@afscme3299.org>
Date: Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 5:18 PM
Subject: Regarding the sacking of Penny Gower
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@googlemail.com

Dear Professor McIntosh,

We are contacting you to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected              union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace                health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting. You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Respectfully,
Cody Duane Potter
Senior Organizer, AFSCME Local 3299
2201 Broadway Suite 315;  Oakland, CA 94612 cpotter@local3299.org
916.717.5877 cell;        510.844.1170 fax

————————————————————————————————————From: Margot Hoyte <MHoyte@vthc.org.au>
Date: Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 10:23 PM
Subject: Seeking Penny Gower’s reinstatement
To: “mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
Cc: “pennygower1@googlemail.com” <pennygower1@googlemail.com>, “rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting. You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Margot Hoyte

54 Victoria St, Carlton South,

Melbourne 3053,AUSTRALIA

————————————————————————————————————- From: Patricia Smith <pat@pjs.abelgratis.co.uk>
Date: Sat, Oct 24, 2009 at 6:21 PM
Subject: Employment Tribunal
To: “rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <mailto:rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, penny gower <pennygower1@googlemail.com>

Professor McIntosh,

I was a teacher for many years and I would like to express my surprise at the way you thought you could ignore UK health and safety statute, as well as common decency, in summarily dismissing the EIS Safety Representative, Penny Gower.
Did you believe you could operate as a tin pot dictator, somehow above the law? I expect you shall be called to account for your actions towards Ms Gower in the forthcoming Employment Tribunal. You broke the law by denying a safety representative their statutory right to inspect and not be victimised for carrying out their trade union functions.
Lecturers at Carnegie College surely deserve better than to lose their Safety Representative while you remain in post. The Funding Council will wish to know what money you have committed to this project of yours. It is, after all, public money that you have devoted to your own private vendetta; you must have known from the start that your behaviour was legally reprehensible.
Your website states that you wish to be ‘globally known’. I think this is an example of a need to be careful about what you wish for. From the messages of protest that I have seen, the reputation of Carnegie College under your stewardship does seem to have achieved national prominence (or notoriety).
I hope my union, the EIS, will raise the issue of how you have misused public funding. This is an issue that I intend to raise with my MSP.

Pat Smith

—————————————————————————————————————From: miles barter <milesbarter@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 11:13 PM
Subject: Penny Gower
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@googlemail.com

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you to protest against the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and I am shocked to hear that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out these duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. You should be aware that the damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting. I hope you will move quickly to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the college.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely

Miles Barter

National committee member, Labour Representative Committee

Committee member, Press and Public Relations branch, National Union of Journalists

London, SE15 2NL

From: Rory O’Neill <editor@hazards.org>
Date: Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 2:21 PM
Subject: Reinstate trade union safety rep Penny Gower
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Dear Professor McIntosh

Reinstate trade union safety rep Penny Gower

I would like to register my concern at the sacking of Penny Gower. As you know Penny was elected by union members in your workplace as a union safety representative, to undertake a legally protected safety role. Her dismissal for executing core trade union safety duties is both immoral and illegal.

You may be aware that the Health and Safety Executive is currently stressing the importance of worker involvement in securing safe and healthy workplaces. Creating an atmosphere of fear and distrust by victimising a trade union safety rep is not going to encourage worker involvement and will be to the detriment of safety standards in your institution.

I would urge you to reinstate Penny Gower immediately, or risk jeopardising the reputation of the College as well as the health and safety of the workers you employ.

Yours sincerely

Rory O’Neill (Professor)

Health, safety and environment officer, International Federation of Journalists, Brussels, Belgium

Editor, Hazards magazine www.hazards.org

cc. EIS branch

From: Daley, Hope <h.daley@unison.co.uk>
Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 10:59 AM
Subject: Dismissal of Penny Gower

To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@googlemail.com.

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you to protest at the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection.  Carrying out health and safety inspections is an important legal right which safety representatives have been allowed to do since the inception of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulation in 1977.

I am amazed that you feel able to dismiss Penny for carrying out this core function.

You may not be aware that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your Institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

I would be grateful if you would reconsider this dismissal and reinstate Penny Gower immediately before the College is called in front of an Employment Tribunal which will cause further damage to the reputation of the College.

Ms Hope Daley, Head of Health and Safety

UNISON, 1 Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9AJ

Tel: 020 7551 1580,Fax; 020 7551 1766

Email: h.daley@unison.co.uk

Health and Safety – not a luxury, but a right!

From: Eduardo Siqueira <siqueira196@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 3:47 PM
Subject: Reinstate Professor McIntosh
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case has rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting. You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Eduardo Siqueira

C. Eduardo Siqueira MD, ScD

Assistant Professor

Department of Community Health and Sustainability

UMass Lowell

3 Solomont Way Suite 3

Lowell, MA 01854-5127

Ph: (978) 934-3147

————————————————————————————————————From: <Patrice111@aol.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 5:36 PM
Subject: workplace health and safety
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@googlemail.com

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you to protest the reported sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that she was reportedly summarily dismissed for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal .  Ms. Gower’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

Removing a safety representative for performing her/his duties with regard to workplace health and safety is hardly in the best interests of the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Patrice Woeppel, Ed.D

From: mike <mike.merritt@talktalk.net>
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@
Date: Sat, 05 Dec 2009 10:14:14 +0000
Subject: The dissmissal of Penny Gower
Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am writing to complain about Penny Gower being sacked. She is a elected union safety representative, a legal position, and she was discharging her responsibilities to the colleagues whom elected her when she carried out a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a legislated safety representative function and it is appalling that she was summarily dismissed.

I ask that you quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower and resolve this difficult and litigious position by sensible negotiation before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is already internationally known across the trade union movement and the wider labour movement.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Merritt
Safety Representative, Press and PR Branch, Nation Union of Journalists

From: Paul Mooney <paulmooney62@yahoo.co.uk>
Date: Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 5:51 PM
Subject: Safety rep
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@googlemail.com

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Mooney

From: Blacklist Support Group <blacklistsg@googlemail.com>
Date: Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 5:13 PM
Subject: Support for victimised trade union safety rep Penny Gower
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: pennygower1@googlemail.com, rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group (a network of construction workers affected by the recently exposed Consulting Association blacklist scandal). Many of our members were dismissed and then blacklisted for raising concerns about safety issues such as asbestos or poor welfare facilities.

We would therefore like to formally protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a legally protected, safety representative function under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and for health & safety reasons is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and long lasting.

You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely

Sean Prophet
Blacklist Support Group

Sign Up to support Penny

October 17, 2009

Sign the petition at http://repego.epetitions.net/

Next leg of tribunal starts

October 17, 2009

Hi,

For anyone who can/wants to make it along to the next leg of the tribunal re victimisation of Penny on grounds of TU activities, it’s starting off again on Monday 26 October at 54 Melville St, at the West end of Edinburgh (5 mins walk from Haymarket).

Unfortunately, Mon pm will be mobbed, with no seats going spare. However, if you want to hear the senior manager who blocked Penny’s safety inspection (even though she couldn’t teach her classes at Saughton), he will be giving evidence Mon am and you would get a seat then.  Tues is again booked solid with TU reps (coming from the Borders, Tayside and the West).  However, there should be an opportunity to hear the Principal who summarily dismissed Penny for carrying out a H&S inspection at Carnegie College, on Friday am 30th October.

As the public seating has been full almost throughout, the judge is asking that people are seated before 10.00 and stay seated till a break, in order not to distract the witness (and the room is small).  Please do your best in this, as there is no point in irritating the judge. Lunch time (when folk can make their escape) can start any time from 12.15 to 1.00 and lasts for an hour.  If you can make it for Fri Pm, please text Penny’s mobile and she will make sure you know what time the pm session kicks off.  It will definitely finish by 4 pm at the latest.

Yours fraternally

Alan Ferguson

EIS FELA President

Message from Jeremy Dear – NUJ

October 3, 2009

Professor Mcintosh
Principal
Carnegie College
Halbeath
Dunfermline
Fife
KY118DY

3 September 2009

Dear Professor Mcintosh,

I am contacting you in your capacity as Principal of Carnegie College to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, a trade union safety representative summarily dismissed in May after undertaking a workplace health and safety inspection, a core, legally protected, safety representative function.

I was appalled to learn that you summarily dismissed Penny for carrying out her duties as an elected Health and Safety representative.

You will obviously be aware that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal. Penny’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of  your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

Your college website states that the values of your organisation include ‘integrity’ (defined as acting with honesty and fairness) and ‘trust and mutual respect’ (seen as treating others with dignity and sensitivity). It is hard to see how these values have been applied in your treatment of Penny Gower.

I add my personal support to Penny Gower’s campaign as well as the support of my trade union, the National Union of Journalists. This victimisation will no doubt be discussed at the TUC and in the UK Parliament and our representatives and supporters there will be lobbied to censure your actions and to support Penny Gower’s case.

I trust you, as Principal, will be taking a close personal interest in this extremely serious case and will quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the college.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Dear
General Secretary

Call for Support

September 14, 2009

From: Alan ferguson, EIS-Further Lecturers’ Association President [mailto:aferguson@jameswatt.ac.uk]

Calling all trade unionists!

We would be very grateful if you could raise the issue of Penny Gower in your organisation. Penny , a longstanding activist of the Scottish teaching union, the EIS, has been summarily dismissed from her job at Carnegie College, for conducting a safety inspection. She was given no opportunity to call witnesses, or appeal the decision.

Penny was previously disciplined by the College for highlighting the fact that the College had sent a lecturer into an isolated classroom with prisoners. When that teacher was attacked, he found he was locked in when he tried to leave the room.

Two union conferences  have passed emergency motions (EIS and UCU), and messages of support have been received from general secretaries and executive members in the NUJ, Unite and ATL. Numerous branches and individuals in these unions and others have also written in protest at management’s action. Appended are some of these messages. Also attached are the EIS notes of the disciplinary hearing, if you want to see what a farce it was. Finally, there is a model letter which we invite you to send to Carnegie College management.

This sacking has implications beyond Further Education. If managements can sack safety reps with impunity then the safety of all workers is put at risk. It is nothing short of scandalous that a college management should act in this way. The union is providing full legal support for Penny at a Tribunal which is currently on-going, but every message helps to strengthen resolve and shows solidarity with the EIS Branch at Carnegie College.

Please send messages of protest/the model letter to the management bmcintosh@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, copied  to the EIS Branch  rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk and to Penny at pennygower1@googlemail.com.

Thank you for your support.

Yours in solidarity

Alan Ferguson

EIS FELA President.

Model Letter

September 14, 2009

Dear Professor McIntosh,

Carnegie College,

Halbeath,

Dunfermline,

Fife, Scotland KY11 8DY

bmcintosh@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

I am contacting you to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, an elected union safety representative, in May 2009 after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection. This is a core, legally protected, safety representative function and it is appalling that you summarily dismissed her for carrying out her duties.

Discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal and Penny’s case is rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

Your college website states that the values of your organisation include ‘integrity’ (defined as acting with honesty and fairness) and ‘trust and mutual respect’ (seen as treating others with dignity and sensitivity). It is hard to see how these values have been applied in your treatment of Penny Gower.

You should quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Messages of Protest in support of Penny

September 14, 2009

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

EIS President’s Statement in Support of

Penny Gower (EIS AGM, June 2009)

Colleagues,

The EIS jealously guards the confidentiality of all members for whom legal cases are being pursued.  However, in this particular case it has been decided to depart from this important principle.

Many delegates will be aware that Penny Gower, an EIS-FELA activist of long standing and a regular delegate to EIS AGMs in years past, was summarily dismissed by Carnegie College in Dunfermline in early May.  At the time of her dismissal Penny was the elected EIS health and safety representative at the College.

There has been a history of problems in relation to Penny’s ability to carry out her duties as an EIS health and safety representative and legal action by the EIS had already been initiated in relation to these previous problems.

The EIS regards it as entirely unacceptable for any employer, in today’s Scotland, to dismiss or otherwise victimise EIS representatives for taking part in legitimate trade union duties and activities.

Therefore, could I place on record here that the EIS will continue to provide whatever legal support is necessary to ensure that justice prevails and that no employer can escape the consequences of discrimination, victimisation or anti-trade union activity.

Penny, you have my best wishes and, I know, the best wishes of every single delegate in this hall today.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

3 September 09

NUJ – National Union of Journalists

Dear Professor McIntosh,

I am contacting you in your capacity as Principal of Carnegie College to protest the sacking of Penny Gower, a trade union safety representative summarily dismissed in May after undertaking a workplace health and safety inspection, a core, legally protected, safety representative function.

I was appalled to learn that you summarily dismissed Penny for carrying out her duties as an elected Health and Safety representative.

You will obviously be aware that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal. Penny’s case is rapidly become a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

Your college website states that the values of your organisation include ‘integrity’ (defined as acting with honesty and fairness) and ‘trust and mutual respect’ (seen as treating others with dignity and sensitivity). It is hard to see how these values have been applied in your treatment of Penny Gower.

I add my personal support to Penny Gower’s campaign as well as the support of my trade union, the National Union of Journalists. This victimisation will no doubt be discussed at the TUC and in the UK Parliament and our representatives and supporters there will be lobbied to censure your actions and to support Penny Gower’s case.

I trust you, as Principal will be taking a close personal interest in this extremely serious case and will quickly move to reinstate Penny Gower before more damage is done to the reputation of the College.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Dear

General Secretary, National  Union of Journalists

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>
From: “Gill George” <gill@gillgeorge.net>
Date: 05/25/2009 03:09PM
Subject: Penny Gower: Message of Support

I am writing to express my full backing for Penny.

Victimisation of trade unionists is simply unacceptable. I don’t doubt that Penny will gain support across our movement.

I am attaching my own message to the Principal of Carnegie College.

Regards

Gill George

Executive Council member, Unite the Union

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

UCU CONGRESS 29 MAY 2009
Motion passed unanimously at UCU congress in Bournemouth today 29th May 2009

In support of victimised trade union activist Penny Gower

Congress notes:

Penny Gower EIS activist at Carnegie College in Fife has been dismissed for attempting to carry out a safety inspection

Penny’s dismissal is a victimisation of a trade union activist carrying out a legal activity

Penny’s dismissal has gained widespread support not simply from her own union EIS but from activists in UCU, UNITE, GMB, PCS and hazards.org campaign

Congress resolves:

To write to Carnegie College management calling for Penny’s reinstatement

Write to Penny and her union branch giving her UCU’s full support

Circulate her case to all members asking them to show her support

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Dorothy Wright [mailto:dorothy@kirklands65.freeserve.co.uk]
Sent: 26 May 2009 18:36
To: Gower, Penny
Subject: I wish you strength for your fight

Hello Penny

AS the mother of a young man killed by his grossly negligent employer who is protected by weak laws,administered by the callously incompetent I know how important it is that someone in a workplace cares about the safety of others

Perhaps had there been a safety rep at his employer’s premises his life could have been saved

AS the founder member of campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers I also know it is vital that we speak out and support one another in our fight to have safety at work as a Human Right

Good luck on 1st June and keep up the fight

Dorothy Wright

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

To:

<bmcintosh@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

cc:

<mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Subject:

Penny Gower

Dear Mr McIntosh

I am contacting you in your capacity as Principal of Carnegie College.

I was appalled to learn of Carnegie College’s victimisation of Penny Gower for carrying her duties as an elected Health and Safety representative.

You will obviously be aware that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership and activity is illegal.

You may be less aware that Penny’s case is rapidly becoming a cause celebre across the trade union movement. The damage to the reputation of your institution could prove to be profound and lasting.

I note from Carnegie College’s website that the stated values of your organisation include ‘integrity’ (defined as acting with honesty and fairness) and ‘trust and mutual respect’ (seen as treating others with dignity and sensitivity). It is hard to see how these values have been applied in your treatment of Penny Gower.

Presumably you, as Principal, will be taking a close personal interest in this extremely serious case. Immediate reinstatement of Penny Gower would seem to be the least damaging route for all concerned.

Regards

Gill George

Executive Council member, Unite the Union

…………………………………..

Sent: Thu 21/05/2009 14:57
To: ‘mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk’
Subject: victimisation of union activist

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to protest at the treatment and victimisation of Penny Gower, an elected representative of the Scottish teaching union, the EIS, whom you’ve seen fit to summarily dismiss from her job at Carnegie College, for carrying out her statutory role. I am also aware that this is not the first time the college has sought to victimise her for highlighting health and safety issues.

I am also appalled to hear that at her disciplinary hearing she was given no opportunity to call witnesses, or appeal the decision.

As a member of the National executive of UNISON representing 800,000 local authority workers I shall be raising this matter with our members who work in the higher education sector, such treatment of a union activist can only serve to damage the reputation of your college and would once known, no doubt make staff think twice about applying for a post where such methods are used.

Glenn Kelly,  UNISON NEC member

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Scandrett, Eurig [mailto:EScandrett@qmu.ac.uk]
Sent: Sun 24/05/2009 13:12
To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Subject: solidarity

Dear Penny

Best wishes to you and your branch for your forthcoming case. Don’t let them get away with it. Keep up the struggle for healthy workplace.

in solidarity

Eurig

Eurig Scandrett
acting Branch secretary, QMU UCU
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6UU
Scotland, UK
escandrett@qmu.ac.uk

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

EMAIL OF 6 MAY 2009

At our EIS branch meeting in Stevenson College, Edinburgh, today 6 May 120 staff voted to send you a message to ask you to pass on to your management our protest at the summary dismissal, without right of appeal, of your Health and Safety Officer.

In our view Carnegie management has no right to interfere with the legal functions of a safety representative, and by dismissing this representative it is showing contempt for the health and safety of staff and students at the College.

We wish you and your campaign to defend your safety representative well and if you would like our assistance in obtaining justice we will do our best to help in any way we can.

Gordon Plews

EIS Branch Secretary

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dave Harker [d1harker@btinternet.com]

To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: Gower, Penny; gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Dear

We are alarmed to hear about what has happened to Penny Gower.

It’s this sort of thing that gets inept authoritarianism a bad name.

Yours sincerely

Dave Harker

Secretary

North East Shop Stewards’ Network

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: derek toms [mailto:derek.toms@btinternet.com]
Sent: Tue 19/05/2009 09:43
To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; Gower, Penny
Subject:

Dear all,

I am disgusted and yet not surprised at the way Penny has been treated.

It really is beyond words how a safety professional can be dismissed from her job whilst working within her legally defined role and function as a safety rep.

No doubt Penny will fight this decision via tribunal. She has my continued support.

In my experience as a rep, it has been made clear to me that employers only pay lip service to the knowledge , advice reps give. This Government is not doing anything to enhance / protect the role of safety reps.

I will very shortly be speaking to my local branch (cornton vale) and will be asking the national officials of the POA(S) for their support in this matter.

Derek Toms- Ex POA SAFETY REP.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Rory O’Neill [mailto:editor@hazards.org]
Sent: Wed 20/05/2009 09:00
To: ‘Rory O’Neill’
Subject: Help defend victimised union safety rep Penny Gower!

Dear all

Help defend victimised union safety rep Penny Gower!

Below is a note from Alan Ferguson, president of teaching union EIS’s FELA section. EIS activist Penny Gower, a workplace health and safety rep, has been fired for undertaking core health and safety functions.

At a time the government has conceded additional protection from blacklisting and victimisation is needed for construction workers, this case is a reminder that there is no effective sanction on employers who victimise their reps – something that should also be remedied. Victimising safety reps is not just wrong, it perpetuates poor workplace conditions and it should be subject to criminal sanctions.

Please offer whatever support you can, including encouraging your contacts to send letters of support to the union and protest emails to management at Carnegie College. Contact details are in Alan’s email, below.

Thanks, Rory

Rory O’Neill

Editor, Hazards magazine www.hazards.org

Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, University of Stirling, Scotland

Health, safety and environment officer, International Federation of Journalists

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Andrew Lawrence [mailto:andrew.lawrence@ed.ac.uk]
Sent: Thu 21/05/2009 12:16
To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: Gower, Penny
Subject: Fwd: Victimisation of EIS H&S rep

It is outrageous that someone performing a vital duty for her workplace and community should be punished for it by losing her job.  We won’t rest until this action is reversed and those responsible for it are held accountable.

In solidarity,

Andrew Lawrence

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

From: Chris Peters [mailto:cn.peters@ntlworld.com]
Sent: Thu 21/05/2009 23:17
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: Gower, Penny; gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Subject: Penny Gower

To whom it may concern,

I find it incredible that a safety rep could be sacked from her job just for performing her duties as a safety rep.

If the facts of the case are as I have heard them then the college is on very shaky grounds with regards to the law.

An employer has to give reasonable time off for a safety rep to perform their duties.

Please reconsider your position in this delicate matter before it goes nationwide and damages your college reputation, and give your rep her job back and the support she needs without the bullying and harassment.

Regards,

Chris Peters (safety rep).

Good luck Penny

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From: Graham Kirkwood [mailto:graham.kirkwood@ed.ac.uk]
Sent: Thu 21/05/2009 09:55
To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Subject: support

This is an outrageous attack on a fundamental right of trade unionists to ensure a safe working environment.

Please let me know of any developments and what we can do to help you win your job back.

In solidarity

Graham Kirkwood

Assistant Secretary UCU Edinburgh University

From: william coats [mailto:wcoats1274@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: Wed 20/05/2009 16:21
To: GWatt
Subject: obstruction of a H&S and Unfair dismissal……….

As a fellow trade unionist and health & safety official. I cannot believe the attitude of your employer and the fact that head of HR would appear to be judge, jury and executioner and not understand the SRSC regs. I will mention this case to my Brigade committee next Friday.

Your in Unity

William Coats

FBU Health & safety

Strathclyde Fire & Rescue

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From: Hilda Palmer [mailto:hilda@gmhazards.org.uk]
Sent: Wed 20/05/2009 15:25
To: Gower, Penny
Cc: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Subject: Fw: Sacking a safety representative

FYI

—– Original Message —–

From: Hilda Palmer

To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 3:24 PM

Subject: Sacking a safety representative

I have just learned that you have  summarily dismissed an EIS trade union safety representative, Penny Gower for exercising her dutiues as a safety rep, by conducting a safety inspection, carried out at a time that caused no disruption to her teaching duties. She was given no opportunity to call witnesses, or appeal the decision. I wish to register my disgust at your actions. which smack of the kangeroo court.

Safety Reps have legal rights to cary out insoectiosn under the SRSC Regulatiosn and employers have statutory duties towards safety reps. Penny appears to have behaved responsibly, even bent over backwrds to be accommodating to management, and you actions in dimsissing her appear to be totally out of order. It seems you may be breaching health and sfaety law in behvaing in this way, plus also victimising a safety rep, not to mention treating your staff with the utmost lack of respect for for both themselves and their representative organisation.

At a time the government has conceded additional protection from blacklisting and victimisation is needed for construction workers, this case is a reminder that there is no effective sanction on employers who victimise their reps – something that should also be remedied. Victimising safety reps is not just wrong, it perpetuates poor workplace conditions and it should be subject to criminal sanctions.

I will do whatever I can to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of your disgraceful behaviour which may well compromise the health and safety of your staff.

Hilda Palmer

Hazards campaigner and trade union activist.

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From: John Bamford [mailto:john@gmhazards.org.uk]
Sent: Wed 20/05/2009 15:11
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Subject: Fw: Sacking a safety representative

I note that your latest news site does not record the fact that you have summarily dismissed an EIS trade union safety representative, Penny Gower.  Don’t you believe in sharing this kind of news with the general public?  Perhaps you believe that they might not respond positively to that kind of action, in which case you would probably be correct.

You appear to have no respect for either your staff, their representative organisation, or the law.  You are probably not bright enough to understand that your actions are criminal – and the HSE should enforce the regulations that you have breached.  You should be prosecuted.

I will do whatever I can to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of your disgraceful behaviour.

John Bamford

Hazards campaigner and trade union activist.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: John Mitchell [mailto:John.Mitchell@nas.gov.uk]
Sent: Wed 20/05/2009 12:36
To: GWatt
Subject: FW: DEFEND HEALTH AND SAFETY REP. MESSAGE FROM EIS-FELA PRESIDENT

I am saddened and dismayed by the actions of Carnegie College Management, who apparently have complete disregard for their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The Labour research department Law at Work 2004 page 166 or Section 44 and 100 or the Employment Rights Act 1996 may be of help.

Good luck and don’t let them grind you down.

John

…………………………………………………………………………………………………


From: Duncan Woodhead
To: ‘mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk’ <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
Sent: Wed May 20 11:11:50 2009
Subject: Penny Gower

Your treatment of Penny Gower is a disgrace. As a member of GMB and a staff member of ATL, I stand in solidarity with my sisters and brothers in EIS and demand that you reinstate Penny Gower, publicly acknowledge the rights of all trade union reps, including health and safety reps, and reach agreement with EIS and Ms Gower to compensate her for any distress caused by your negligent behaviour and the colleges blatant mismanagement of this situation.

I look forward to hearing from you personally regarding this matter.

Regards,

Duncan Woodhead
Organiser
ATL
07918 195072
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From: Alan McShane [mailto:A.McShane@blackburn.ac.uk]
Sent: Fri 22/05/2009 11:19
To: GWatt
Subject: Victimisation

Dear Penny,

Greetings from the UCU Health & Safety Reps Committee at Blackburn college.  I have just been made aware of your situation and on behalf of the committee I send you the strongest  message of support.

As a TUC tutor I will raise your situation on the courses that I teach and make reps aware of the tricks management can get up when legitimately carrying out the union safety reps role.

Best regards & the best of luck,

Alan Mc Shane

(chair of the UCU H&S Reps Committee)

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From: John Bamford [mailto:JBamford@UCU.ORG.UK]
Sent: Fri 22/05/2009 10:39
To: Graham Petersen
Subject: RE: Help defend victimised union safety rep Penny Gower!

Hi,

I am circulating the original e-mail to the UCU health & safety list today – that’s getting-on for 800 safety reps and branch secs/chairs. Hugh Robertson at the TUC knows, and believes the EIS will be putting something out to TUC affiliates soon. I can also raise this at the Thursday H&S Fringe – it’s about bullying and how we organise to prevent it, so would be useful to emphasise how some employers react to safety rep activities – what I want is for UCU reps to get angry about employer abuses of the SRSC Regs and the duties on them to facilitate safety reps activity, because I think we’ve let many colleges and universities off the hook for too long.

Regards

John
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From:CarloMorellimailto:c.j.morelli@dundee.ac.uk]
Sent:Fri22/05/200914:24
To:gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; GowerPenny
Subject: message of support

Dear Colleagues,

I’ve heard about  the victimisation at Carnegie College and want to offer our support to your campaign. Our UCU branch at Dundee University is happy to help in whatever way we can. Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to do and pass on our support to all involved in the campaign.

Yours

Carlo (President Dundee UCU)

Dr Carlo Morelli
Department of Economic Studies
University of Dundee
Dundee
DD1 4HN

01382 344000 x 4380
email c.j.morelli@dundee.ac.uk

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: McCann, Ian [mailto:Ian.McCann@Southampton-City.ac.uk]
Sent: Fri 22/05/2009 14:39
To: GWatt
Subject: Message of support

I have just been informed about the outrageous treatment received at the hands of your employer. I to am a safety rep and know how difficult the role can be and it never ceases to amaze me why an employer would not want our assistance in improving workplace health & safety particularly in an industry as stressful as education.

You have the full support of my branch and wish you every luck in what I will assume will be forthcoming legal action – justice will prevail!

Yours in solidarity

Ian McCann

UCU Branch Secretary

Southampton City College

From: Paul Flodman [mailto:paulflodman@blueyonder.co.uk]
Sent: Fri 22/05/2009 16:48
To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: Gower, Penny
Subject: Support for Penny Gower

I wish to register my support for Penny and am appalled that such an action should be considered let alone taken.

Please pass on my words of support

Paul Flodman

UCU

Open University

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From: Karin Gardner
Sent: 18 May 2009 10:37
To: Graham Watt
Cc: Gus McFadzen; ‘Norman Gough’; ‘Alan ferguson’; ‘Gluckstein, Donny’; alicia; Alicia Dawes; David UrquartSmith; Karin Gardner; Mike Cowley; Rajinder Sharma; Shaun Miller
Subject: FW: Message of Support: Dismissal of EIS-FELA National Executive Member 7 Health and Safety Rep

To Graham Watt – Carnegie College

MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FROM EDINBURGH’S TELFORD COLLEGE –EIS-FELA

We fully support the statement below from Langside College and endorse the concerns about Health & Safety in FE.

Our now retired H&S rep was almost disciplined in his last week of work and left after almost 30 years service with no SMT acknowledgement of his significant contribution to Learning & Teaching and his work in addressing space standards in the new college.  Almost all lecturers have to hot desk/space in an overcrowded, noisy, airless environment.   The hot spaces do not meet the H&S desk size standards, there are insufficient desks and storage is inadequate with 25% of space at ankle height.   The poor work environment is a contributing factor to very high stress absence levels and a quite demoralised staff.

This branch has not managed to find anyone prepared to take on the onerous responsibilities as the staff are well aware that it is a constant battle and a high risk activity.

You are welcome to use this statement from Telford.

A request last week from EIS-FELA to the Head of Facilities for issues relating to H&S has not been acknowledged.

Karin Gardner Branch Secretary

Edinburgh‘s Telford College.

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From:RobertFotheringham[mailto:robert.fotheringham@virgin.net]
Sent:Fri22/05/2009.22:08
To:
Subject: Dismissal of EIS Safety Rep

Hi,

I think the best route to get Penny’s dismissal raised at EIS conference is to see if someone who is on EIS council could raise the matter, possibly as an emergency AGM motion.
We have an EIS committee meeting in school on Tuesday and I will make sure Penny’s dismissal is discussed.

Please pass on my best wishes to Penny. Hopefully with the full backing of
EIS she will be reinstated.

regards,
Bob
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
From: Malcolm Wilson <mwilson7@gmail.com>
Date: 05/14/2009 05:45PM
Subject: Message of Support: Dismissal of EIS-FELA National Executive Member 7 Health and Safety Rep

To: Carnegie College EIS-FELA Branch,

Langside College EIS-FELA branch members wish to protest in the strongest possible terms at the decision by Carnegie College to summarily dismiss, with no right of appeal or facility to call witnesses, Penny Gower a long-standing member of the EIS-FELA National Executive and elected member of EIS National Council. Branch members are not prepared accept that an EIS Health and Safety Officer should be dismissed for carrying out risk assessments designed to promote the safety of both learners and staff. We are gravely concerned that Carnegie College may have acted in breach of Sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) which   offers protection from victimisation for safety representatives because of health and safety activities. Carnegie College’s actions appear to be completely void of moral, ethical, or legal validity .

Your members may already be aware that the Funding Council are required to intervene in the event that any college’s procedures and/or actions become the subject of significant authoritative criticism. In our view the Scottish Funding Council is duty bound to uncover whether the growing sector wide criticism of Carnegie College’s handling of the Penny Gower’s case indicates weaknesses in the college’s governance and/or management which has implications for the Council’s responsibilities.

Given the information forwarded to us by the local EIS-FELA branch it is impossible to see how Carnegie College’s action match the the Scottish Funding Council’s ‘principles of good practice’ in management of disciplinary issues. Funding Council guidelines to colleges state: “ Disciplinary rules and procedures, should be consistent with the principles of good practice, in order to ensure reasonable, fair and consistent behaviour on the part of management. The principles of good practice in this context involve acting with just cause after a thorough investigation, using procedures correctly, acting consistently, following the rules of natural justice.”

We urge your members to consult with Penny and consider the appropriateness of bringing her case to the attention of MSPs, the relevant Scottish Minister, Scottish Funding Council, and to prepare supportive motions for consideration at EIS-FELA National Executive and EIS National Council.

There is also the related issue of whether Carnegie’s College’s actions meet the requirements of the Financial Memorandum with the Scottish Funding Council which, among other things, states that: “……the governing body will ensure that the institution takes account of relevant good practice in the management of all its activities and resources including its staff, human resources and industrial relations practices”.

Langside Branch members are well aware that ill-founded attacks by Scottish FE College managements on elected trade union representatives have continually punctuated industrial relations history in the sector. We will not sit back and let the actions Carnegie College effectively undermine the confidence of other EIS Health and Safety representatives in fulfilling duties primarily designed to keep our colleges safe for staff, public and students. Penny Howard’s fight is our fight. In our view the EIS needs to begin making preparations for a national response. Our members remain committed to providing whatever support may be necessary to bring about a speedy resolution to this matter.

In solidarity,

Malcolm Wilson

EIS-FELA Branch Secretary

Langside College

Glasgow

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Ian Lennie” <Ian.Lennie@central-glasgow.ac.uk>
Date: 05/13/2009 09:38AM
Subject: Penny Gower – Message of Support

Yesterday, at a full branch meeting, the motion below was passed  unanimously;

This Central College EIS-FELA Central College branch deplores the dismissal of Health & Safety representative Penny Gower by Carnegie College management and resolves to support a campaign to have her reinstated.

The branch was appalled at the actions of Carnegie College Management in dismissing Penny for doing no more than undertaking her legal right  as a H&S Rep.  The branch sees it

as scandalous that a college management should act in this way and believes such Management actions must be vigorously challenged and opposed.

In solidarity

Ian Lennie

Branch Secretary, Central College Glasgow

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: “Brian McKerrow” <BMcKerrow@clydebank.ac.uk>
Date: 05/12/2009 12:53PM
Cc: “Frank Kelly” <FKelly@clydebank.ac.uk>, “Cameron MacDonald” <CMacDonald@clydebank.ac.uk>, “Bob McEwan” <BMcEwan@clydebank.ac.uk>, “Eugene Crummie” <ECrummie@clydebank.ac.uk>, “Sheila Kerr” <SKerr@clydebank.ac.uk>
Subject: Dismissal of National Executive Member-Penny Gower

Graham,

Please let Penny and the members at Carnegie know that the membership at Clydebank are fully in support of them and any steps that may be taken to fully reinstate Penny as soon as possible.

Brian N.McKerrow,

Branch Secretary,

Clydebank College

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: “‘gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk‘” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: Scott Aitken <SAitken@Motherwell.co.uk>
Date: 05/12/2009 12:23PM
Cc: “‘rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk‘” <rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
Subject: Message of Support

Graham,

We were shocked to find out from the EIS/FELA President about the actions taken by Carnegie College management in dismissing Penny Gower.

On behalf of our members at Motherwell please pass a message of support both to Penny and your Branch.

Can you provide us with a bit more detail on this appalling situation and we will write directly to your Board of Management in the hope that they will make every effort to put things right.

If you can keep us up to date with developments that would be helpful too.

All the best,

Scott Aitken

Motherwell College

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: Marie Macrae <marieann.macrae@hemscott.net>
Date: 05/24/2009 01:29PM
Subject: Penny Gower

Hi Graham,

Marie Macrae here. Ex Abbeyview and Unison, now retired but still doing consultancy.

Is this the same Penny that taught Equal Pay training in Falkirk College as a TU course?
I assume that you are in touch with Dougie Gordon of Unison Fife who is very active on the  H& S front and with the other Colleges teaching TU studies?

I am very surprised and disappointed that this is happening at Carnegie, wouldn’t have happened if Helen was still there, I think!

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support .
Regards
Marie

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Sheena Farenden” <sheena.farenden@sky.com>
Date: 05/24/2009 01:05AM
Subject: Safety Rep rights

I know that I and many others would like answers as to why your college feels it is above the law and can sack a H & S Rep for undertaking their legal rights to conduct an Inspection of the workplace.

I can only assume you are very rich and a strong constitution as you are going to need it when the lawyers become involved.

I appreciate there are two sides to every story but really if what has been reported is correct you are in trouble. Please reply as I want to understand this from both sides.

Thank you

Sheena

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
From: “bryngriffiths@tiscali.co.uk” <bryngriffiths@tiscali.co.uk>
Date: 05/23/2009 08:56PM
Subject: Penny Gower

As a safety representative myself I was appalled to read that any
management could be so backward as to suspend a rep for doing her job.
Good luck Penny.

Bryn Griffiths

Worcester College of Technology Branch, UCU

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “J.E.Bennett” <J.E.Bennett@open.ac.uk>
Date: 05/22/2009 03:38PM
Subject: Penny Gower

The actions of management in sacking Penny Gower are unjust.    They ought to be taken to court and sued for large amounts of compensation.

Best wishes,

john Bennett

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To: “gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: David Heathcote <dheathco@bournemouth.ac.uk>
Date: 05/22/2009 12:18PM
Subject: Support for Safety Rep

Sir
We were appalled to hear of the treatment that your H&S rep has received.  Please send more details of the case; what precisely has Penny been disciplined for? what are the exact circumstances.
Best wishes
Dr David Heathcote UCU Chair & H&S Rep
Bournemouth University

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pgower@stevenson.ac.uk, mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
From: Fabio Lombardino <fabio.lombardino@hullcc.gov.uk>
Date: 05/22/2009 12:06PM
Subject: Victimisation of H&S reps

Dear People

My name is Fabio Lombardino and I am an H&S rep for UCU.

Surely there will be a lot of people feeling much distress and sadness about what happened to our colleague. It is not up to me to give interpretation of actions or laws or to judge behaviours; however, if what I read is true (and, unfortunately not too surprising), I cannot refrain from expressing my utter support to the victimised H&S rep.

Additionally, I agree that any act against H&S reps puts at risk all employees and users of the services we work for.

So, what would be the way forward?

In my opinion, we need to be as unite as we can to make our voice heard. Additionally, I believe you cannot solve a problem you don’t understand.

Personal and second hand experience have taught me that many providers/employers have wrong perceptions of the issues, as well as being into much pressure to ‘deliver’ such results that are easier to ‘measure’.

Anyway, I am not ruling out plain corruption: “I cut corners to achieve better than my competitors in my next job application and I hope to get away with it”. Do you recognise any of your managers?

In most other cases, it may be crucial to develop a proper open culture of H&S and show that the most successful managers whose career is proceeding faster and who are getting further ahead are never those who grossly neglet H&S.

Managing a service properly is a learning experience that helps managers achieve more and better. Makes people feel less vulnerable to scandals and threats, as well as helps keep relaxed, focused and productive at work.

Some of us work in Universities (I don’t, but many do). Why not seek advice from business and law experts?

Some managers have to cope with duties they are not properly trained for. This is no excuse for anyone. We should aknowledge our weaknesses and seek/make available any relevant advice, so that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel all the times. Most problem we face have been studied and state-of-the-art solutions have been found.

We should be as firm and as constructive as possible and those of good will are certainly going to listen. For the others, I am afraid legal and industrial actions, as well as media involvement, are the only options left.

Thanks

Fabio

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To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Billy.McChord” <Billy.McChord@forthvalley.ac.uk>
Date: 05/20/2009 03:48PM
Subject:

To Carnegie College EIS-FELA Branch

We, the Forth Valley College EIS-FELA branch, would like to express our support to Penny Gower and the EIS –FELA branch at Carnegie College following the dismissal of Penny Gower. We have sent a message of protest to Carnegie College Board of Management regarding this outrageous action. If our branch can be of any assistance please let us know.

For and on behalf of Forth Valley College EIS-FELA

Billy McChord

Depute Branch Secretary

Forth Valley College

Grangemouth Road

Falkirk

FK2 9AD

Tel: 01324 403000

Ext: 3100

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Safety Mail – Outgoing” <cwumswl@btinternet.com>
Date: 05/26/2009 03:42PM
Subject: penny gower

Colleague s

Please see attached

Regards,

Derek Maylor MIIRSM Tech IOSH

office 01744 733790       mobile 07761 098993

mailto: safety@cwumswl.org

Website:  www.unionsafety.eu

Health & Safety Co-ordinator , Chair NW  Safety Co-ord.

Merseyside & South West Lancs . Branch

Communication Workers Union

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To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>
From: <Linda.Buchan@scotland.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 02:05PM
Subject: FW: DEFEND HEALTH AND SAFETY REP. MESSAGE OF SUPPORT

Really incensed to hear of this injustice and we send our full support to both you and your Branch.  We have also registered our protest with the college Management.  It is not Only shocking but scary that in this day and age and with the relevant laws in place That trade unionists seem unable to carry out their rightful duties without fear of reprisal.

Hope that justice will finally be served.  We would appreciate updates on the situation And a bit of background as to what happened as many of our members are worried about the Implications of this happening to them.

Chin up and keep fighting, we are all right beside you/.

Kind Regards
Linda
Tayside Branch Chair

Ms Linda Buchan
PCS Tayside Branch(Scottish Government)
Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate
Strathearn House
Lamberkine Dr
Perth
PH1 1RX
Tel: 01738 602133
Fax: 01738 602001
EMail: Linda.buchan@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Robert Leslie” <b.leslie@north-gla.ac.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 09:39AM
Subject: Penny Gower

Hi,

Just a note to express support for Penny – Alan Ferguson addressed our Pay GM on the subject and we wish to add our voices to the calls for her re-instatement. Sorry this hasn’t arrived sooner but I’ve been off ill and am just catching up with business!

I also sent the following message to your college:

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of this EIS branch addressed by EIS President Alan Ferguson we were informed of your recent actions with respect to Penny Gower. I am writing to express our members’ disquiet at your action which we consider to be heavy-handed and unjustifiable on the basis of the case notes we have seen. We ask for her immediate re-instatement as a matter of natural justice.

Bob Leslie

Branch Secretary

EIS

North Glasgow College

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To: “gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Joe Kinsey” <JKinsey@west-lothian.ac.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 08:57AM
Subject: Penny Gower

Hi  Graham

We had our Branch Meeting last week where this subject was raised, the branch were appalled at this treatment and want you and your members to know they have the full support of our branch. We are sending a message of support to Penny along with an e-mail to the college.

Let me know if there is anything else we can do.

Joe Kinsey
Branch secretary
EIS/FELA
West Lothian College

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To: “mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Graham Kirkwood” <graham.kirkwood@ed.ac.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 08:48AM
Cc: “gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, “Gower, Penny” <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>
Subject: Penny Gower

Dear Ms Philp

I was appalled to learn of Carnegie College’s victimisation of Penny Gower for carrying out her duties as an elected Health and Safety representative.

As you will be aware health and safety is one of the most basic rights trade unionists, indeed workers, have under the law. Any employer breaching these rights would be, quite rightly in my opinion, viewed with deep mistrust. If this happened to a UCU member, grey listing, where the college concerned is made a pariah within the education community would be an option.

Immediate reinstatement of Penny Gower would seem to be the least damaging route for all concerned.

Yours sincerely
Graham Kirkwood
Assistant Secretary, Equality and Diversity, UCU University of Edinburgh
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: nicky Calvert <nickystainglass@hotmail.co.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 02:22AM
Subject: message of support

Hi g watts !
wishing you success with Penny Gower,s case .I am not surprised at the unaceptable manner in which Penny has been treated as it seems from my own experience of being a H&S rep that not all employers seem to understand the SRSC  Regulations or the need for us !
Good Luck !

Nicky Calvert
UCU H&S Rep
CALAT Branch

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Dear Comrades,

I was absolutely appalled to here of the situation you currently find yourselves in, this is truly an outrage.

It would appear that your management have a limited understanding of general HR procedures, and are bending the rules to suit there own ends.

They also do not seem to acknowledge the legal position of Union Safety Representatives (SRSC Regs)

Please accept my support.

I hope common sense wins out in this instance, and wish you every success in the future.

{ All CC’s  Pleases send any messages of support to the EIS Branch ( gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk <mailto:gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>  ) and to Penny at pgower@stevenson.ac.uk <mailto:pgower@stevenson.ac.uk> ,}

Fraternally yours.

Graeme Russell  (Tech IOSH)

CWU Scottish Regional Safety Secretary (BT)

CWU Scottish H&S Forum (Chair)

Edinburgh, Dundee & Borders Branch

Email:- safety@cwuedb.org

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
From: Mancini, Stephen [mailto:Stephen.Mancini@ineos.com]
Sent: Mon 25/05/2009 07:49
To: scottishhazards@yahoogroups.co.uk
Subject: RE: [scottishhazards] From EIS FELA President re victimisation of safety rep [1 Attachment]

I am a  UNITE senior steward at Ineos in grangemouth and i would like to express my support for you and my utter disgust at the way you’ve been treated.

We demonstrated at grangemouth this year how to succesfully take on a bullying employer.

Take heart it can be done.

Yours Fratenally,

Steve Mancini

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
From: Paul Hyles [mailto:Paul.Hyles@scottishwater.co.uk]
Sent: Mon 25/05/2009 08:42
To: GWatt

Subject:

Hi,
Good luck in your fight, this is ridiculous.

paul

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Andrew McGeever [amcgeever@hotmail.com]
Sent: Sat 23/05/2009 15:20
To: GWatt
Subject: RE: Dismissal of EIS Safety Rep

Dear Penny,
I have read the transcript of your disciplinary “hearing”.
It is appalling that a Health and Safety rep should be summarily dismissed for carrying out their normal duties, and the manner in which this dismissal was effected flies in the face of existing disciplinary procedures, and indeed, natural justice.
I will be attending the EIS AGM this June as a delegate from Edinburgh Local Association, and you can be assured that every effort will be made to raise your case at that conference.
The senior management at Carnegie College cannot be allowed to get away with this!

Yours,

Andrew McGeever
EIS Rep, Portobello High School, Edinburgh.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From:BrianMcKerrow[mailto:BMcKerrow@clydebank.ac.uk]
Sent:22/05/2009 10:02
To:
Cc: Frank Kelly; Cameron MacDonald; Bob McEwan; Eugene Crummie; SheilaKerr
Subject: Victimisation of Penny Gower

Just to let you know that Penny’s treatment by Carnegie College is on the agenda of a Clydebank College Branch Meeting this coming Wednesday.

Regards,

Brian N. McKerrow,

Branch Secretary & FELA National Executive

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Hannah Richard RD – OSHE

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “Deans, Stephen” <Stephen.Deans@ineos.com>
Date: 05/25/2009 11:21AM
Subject: Penny Gower

Colleague,

Please accept this message of support and solidarity to your branch in their struggle to win justice for Penny Gower following her disgraceful dismissal for carrying out her legitimate role as a Safety Rep.

We wish you well in your campaign to win justice for Penny and if there is anything we can do to help please let me know.

In solidarity

Stephen Deans

Unite the Union
Ineos

Tel. 01324 493177
Mob. 07766240312

…………………………………………………………………………………..

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pgower@stevenson.ac.uk

From: “Lois Kennedy” <lvk3@tutor.open.ac.uk>
Date: 05/27/2009 12:10PM
Subject: Penny Gower

Having been informed of what has happened via OU UCU, I send my warm support to your cause,.

Good luck with all your campaigning and with the legal steps.

The latter will not be an easy or short process but it will be very well worth staying the course and your work pursuing that road will surely help others who may, regrettably, have to follow the same road in future.

Very best wishes

Lois Kennedy, member, OUBUCU

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

From: “Alicia Kopiej” <AliciaKopiej@adamsmith.ac.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 04:02PM
Cc: “Alison Davidson” <AlisonDavidson@adamsmith.ac.uk>
Subject: Message of Support

Dear friends,

Academic staff at Adam Smith College are appalled to hear that a health and safety representative has been sacked for carrying out her duties. Carnegie College has a duty of care to its staff and students. They are showing contempt for the law, the college community, and public safety. If anyone should be sacked it is those who took the decision to dismiss Penny Gower.

We anticipate that, given the strong legal defence being launched by the EIS and the high levels of support from other trade unionists, Carnegie College management will be publicly humiliated in both the courts and the local and national media. The college may also face a huge fine and if so, we hope that the management is held to account for an unnecessary and predictable waste of public money.

We shall be writing to the College management and will send you a copy.

In solidarity,

Adam Smith College EIS

(pp Alicia Kopiej, branch exec. Member)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: John Kelly <jgkellyeis@live.co.uk>
Date: 05/27/2009 10:18AM
Subject: Dismissal of Penny Gower

Dear Sir/Madam

From: John Kelly, EIS-FELA Branch Secretary, Reid Kerr College, Paisley.

I am writing to you in protest at your decision to summarily dismiss Penny Gower, and to complain about the manner in which this dismissal was carried out.

Penny Gower is an elected Health and Safety representative of the EIS, and has worked in the FE service for 35 years.  Your attack on her is an attack on every EIS member and indeed every one of your own members of staff at Carnegie College.

Your appalling decision to summarily dismiss Penny flies in the face of common sense.  As you are aware I am sure, you are likely to fall foul of various pieces of legislation.  You will also be aware that the Funding Council has intervened in the past on cases of victimisation.

I fail to see how your actions can be seen to follow Funding Council guidelines which make it clear that they expect ‘principles of good practice’ in management of disciplinary issues.

These are guidelines which state that  “The principles of good practice in this context involve acting with just cause after a thorough investigation, using procedures correctly, acting consistently, following the rules of natural justice.”  Your actions clearly fail to satisfy these guidelines.

I would urge you to reconsider your decision and re-instate Penny immediately.

I will be writing to my MSP over this matter and will pass him a copy of this email.

John Kelly
EIS Branch Secretary
REID KERR COLLEGE

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

From: Julian Goodare <j.goodare@ed.ac.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 11:40PM
Subject: In support of Penny Gower

TO: Carnegie College management

I became a health and safety representative in the late 1970s when
legislation on this was first brought in.  I am now disturbed to hear
that a health and safety representative, Penny Gower, has been
dismissed for carrying out her duties.  I hope she can be reinstated
immediately.  This would at least bring Carnegie College into the 20th
century if not the 21st.

Dr Julian Goodare, FRHistS, FSAScot, FHEA
Reader in History
University of Edinburgh

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Fife District” <fifedistrict@rmt.org.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 06:02PM
Subject: Penny Safety Rep

We the members of the RMT send a message of support to Penny, Safety Reps
are an integral part of any workforce, and the management should be praising
our deeds and not chastising in this fashion. We hope Penny has a successful
IT and is reinstated without discrimination.

Yours in comradeship

Jim Philp
Fife & District Branch Secretary
Tel 01592 721859 / 07810120710
e-mail fifedistrict@rmt.org.uk

To:

<mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Subject:

Safety Rep

M Philp

It is with disbelief that I write this e-mail to condone a Manager actions especially a Teaching manager, education is a wonderful thing and if this person had taken the time to read the Safety reps handbook they would have known they were wrong in the action they have taken.

What an embarrassment it will be for yourself and Carnegie College when Penny wins her case, you should be utterly ashamed with your managements attitude to Health & Safety in the workplace, Safety Reps work to protect everybody in their workplace to make it a safer place to work even for your managers.

The RMT Union members in Fife abhor your decision against Penny Gower.

Jim Philp
Fife & District Branch Secretary
Tel 01592 721859 / 07810120710
e-mail fifedistrict@rmt.org.uk

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

<gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>
From: “McDonald, I” <I.McDonald@hw.ac.uk>
Date: 05/26/2009 04:18PM
Subject: RE: VICTIMISATION OF PENNY GOWER

Dear Colleagues,

I was shocked to read of this travesty.  Daily we put ourselves into situations where we are the only symbol of authority in classrooms and lecture theatres filled with dozens of people who may have

behavioural, psychological or personal problems.

We rely on our employers to provide us with a safe and secure working environment. However, it is our duty as trade unionists to identify shortfalls, report them to our management and work with them to ensure that all areas of risk are rectified.

We cannot pass by on the other side and say well it is not in my area so it’s not my problem. I commend Penny for taking the audit but condemn her employer for the arrogant and high handed action they have taken.

Regards,

Iain

John E McDonald

Former President EIS-ULA

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Linda Richardson [ Linda.Richardson@leith.edin.sch.uk ]
Sent: Mon 25/05/2009 09:49
To: GWatt
Subject: Support

Full backing to you from Leith Academy – such treatment of the H & S rep carrying out her duties must be condemned.

The action of the college must be reversed so that Penny can return to her job as lecturer and H&S rep.

In support

Linda Richardson

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
From: Sheila Kerr [ mailto:SKerr@clydebank.ac.uk ]
Sent: Mon 25/05/2009 09:40
To: GWatt
Subject: Summary dismissal

I was shocked and dismayed to hear of your situation.  My name is Sheila Kerr and I am an EIS negotiator at Clydebank College.  I work alongside Brian McKerrow and received details forwarded to me.

Your situation will be discussed at the branch and I personally offer my full support (as will the branch).  You have right on your side and so let this prevail!

We will be in touch but in the meantime, my very best wishes and support.

Regards
Sheila Kerr

To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

Cc: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; Gower, Penny

Subject: Fwd: DEFEND HEALTH AND SAFETY REP. MESSAGE FROM EIS-FELA PRESIDENT

As a trade union rep in Scottish Government I’m appalled that any employer, particularly a college, should behave in this way.  It’s particularly shameful when health and safety is such an important aspect of workers’ lives.

If there’s anything I can do, beyond copying this message to the employer, then let me know

Isabel

PCS Union

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “martin clark” <martin.clark@glasgowmet.ac.uk>

Date: 06/09/2009 05:19PM

Subject: Message of Support

Hi

This was raised at our Glasgow City Unison Further Education Committee.

It is scandelous that this has happened in this day and age. This

Committe sends it’s full support and if we can do anything to help

please get in touch. We are sure that common sense will prevail in the

end. On behalf of the FE Committee.

Regards

Martin Clark

Glasgow Metropolitan College

Scottish Charity Number SC036198

……………………………………………………………………………………….

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Philip Inglis” <Philip.Inglis@scottishwater.co.uk>

Date: 06/08/2009 02:21PM

Subject: This is shambolic

Hello

As a GMB Scottish water trade union activist this is typical of

managements negative approach to trade unions and health and safety and

the valuable work safety reps undertake.

The today’s in management seems to have a draconian attitude to

unionised employees , if you don’t tip your cap and cower in a corner

your card is marked.

Good luck and take them for every penny they have got.

Philip

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

From: james mirren27 <jamesmirren27@yahoo.co.uk>

Date: 06/01/2009 12:15PM

Subject: human rights

i am 100% behind health and safety,noone should ever be in danger,if the powers that be cant handle this,take them to a tribunial,they should be shot,this would solve the ignorance of the higher archy,who nowadays seem to know less about safety than the normal person on the work floor.

x t&g shop steward 74 years old.

……………………………………………………………………………………….

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “HDonnelly” <HDonnelly@hillpark-sec.glasgow.sch.uk>

Date: 06/01/2009 10:33AM

Subject: Hillpark EIS – Defend Penny Gower

Colleagues

Some employers may say that you should never let a good crisis go to waste! This may appear to be the opinion of management at Carnegie College.

The treatment and summary dismissal of Penny is alarming and clearly an attack on union organisation whcih has implications for us all.

On behalf of Hillpark Secondary EIS in Glasgow I should like to convey our solidarity and best wishes in your campaign to unconditionally reinstate Penny and challenge the unacceptable actions of your employers.

These people have to be made accountable and given the mood in the country with regard to the misue of public funds among MP’s, I should expect that sacking Health and Safety Reps for doing their jobs would similarly be seen as an abuse of public funds.

Whoever is responsible for this decision, should resign forthwith, and if they don’t, they should be sacked!

This is an outrageous attack on a fundamental right of trade unionists to ensure a safe working environment.

A Special Executive of the EIS is taking place on Wednesday in Perth prior to the AGM. I shall be presetn at that  and I am confident that Penny and the College will have every support in pursuing this matter to a more than satisfactory conclusion.

Please let me know of any developments.

In solidarity

Hugh Donnelly

EIS Representative.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

From: dantes inferno <maberley@gmail.com>

Date: 05/30/2009 11:41AM

Subject: Penny Gower

Hi

I am a H & S rep for UCU and would welcome information on how I can

help with the case of penny Gower who I understand was sacked

unfairly.

Cheers

Peter

……………………………………………………………………………………………

To: gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk

From: Tony Masters <tony.masters@ons.gsi.gov.uk>

Date: 05/28/2009 01:02PM

Subject: In support of a H&S colleague

Please convey my utter shock in learning about the sacking of a H&S rep

for what appears them doing their job

Regards

Tony Masters

Health and Safety Representative PCS

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Phone (01329) 81 4253

Email tony.masters@ons.gov.uk

Postal  Room 4300E, ONS, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, PO15 5RR

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

To: “pgower@stevenson.ac.uk” <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

From: Calvin Burns <calvin.burns@strath.ac.uk>

Date: 05/27/2009 10:32PM

Cc: “gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Subject: support

I’m the UCU H&S rep at the University of Strathclyde.

I’m disgusted at the treatment you’ve received and will be sending a protest message to the management in your support.

Good luck,

Calvin

Dr. Calvin Burns

Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour

Department of Human Resource Management

Strathclyde Business School

University of Strathclyde

Graham Hills Building

50 Richmond Street

GLASGOW  G1 1XU

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Steve Lamprey” <Steve.Lamprey@cityofbristol.ac.uk>

Date: 07/21/2009 09:19AM

Subject: Please pass on a message of support to Penny, and my apologies for taking so long to do this. I am a TUC tutor in the Trade Union Education Centre at the City of Bristol College, currently teaching the Diploma In Occupational Health and Safety. I will bring Penny’s case to the attention of Safety Reps on the course, as well as any others I am teaching next term. It goes without saying that the treatment she has received from her employer is appalling and demonstrates the need for improved legal protection for Safety Reps.

Please pass on a message of support to Penny, and my apologies for taking so long to do this. I am a TUC  tutor in the Trade Union Education Centre at the City of Bristol College, currently teaching the Diploma In Occupational Health and Safety. I will bring Penny’s case to the attention of Safety Reps on the course, as well as any others I am teaching next term. It goes without saying that the treatment she has received from her employer is appalling and demonstrates the need for improved legal protection for Safety Reps.

Best wishes, Steve Lamprey

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Richard Barron” <barronr@stirling.gov.uk>

Date: 07/03/2009 04:37PM

Subject: Penny Gower,

I  was dismayed, as were all my colleagues here at Stirling Council UNISON to hear how Penny had been treated.

it is outrageous that the law has been so blatantly ignored in this case.  Especially since the person was undertaking a safety inspection the aim of which is to protect people at work from harm.  It would appear that the college has something to hide and feared that Penny would expose them.

Best of luck in getting Penny reinstated, but you shouldn’t need it as it appears to be such an open and shut case that should never have even got to this stage.

Richard Barron

Branch Health and Safety Officer

Unison Stirling Council Branch

01786 442937

http://www.stirling.gov.uk/countryside

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: john dennis <gazebo17@msn.com>

Date: 07/03/2009 02:27PM

Cc: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

Subject: Victimisation of Trade Union Activist

“Dumfries & Galloway Local Association Executive of the EIS sends its support to Penny Gower. We believe it is intolerable that a College management has sacked an official union safety rep in connection with her union activities.”

John Dennis (Secretary EIS Dumfries & Galloway Local Association)

Upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 Optimised for MSN. Download Now

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: “gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: Mick Holder <mick.holder@yahoo.co.uk>

Date: 07/02/2009 09:05AM

Cc: editor@hazards.org

Subject: RE: Safety rep Penny

Hello,

I have just written to Carnegie College about Penny’s predicament and I wonder if I can be of any more help.

If you haven’t done this already……..While traditionally HSE have run away from this type of situation I would recommend pushing for them to get involved here and actually enforce the SRSCRegs – something they have almost never done in the past but……..it’s worth a try. If they refuse then further lobbying could focus on this. This would not only help highlight Penny’s victimisation but would also give an opportunity for campaigning on the issue for all safety reps.

If you have taken this all on board then great stuff. If not and you’d like some help please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Good luck.

Mick Holder

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: “gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: Mick Holder <mick.holder@yahoo.co.uk>

Date: 07/02/2009 08:59AM

Subject: Fw: Re-instate Penny Gower

— On Thu, 2/7/09, Mick Holder <mick.holder@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

From: Mick Holder <mick.holder@yahoo.co.uk>

Subject: Re-instate Penny Gower

To: “mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk” <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Date: Thursday, 2 July, 2009, 8:58 AM

Dear Carnegie College,

I am writing to demand you re-instate Penny Gower, a trade union safety rep fired in May – just for doing a workplace health and safety inspection, a core, legally protected, safety rep function.

Not only is it morally wrong to attack someone who is looking out for the interests of others but it is a breach of the regulations and we will be putting pressure on HSE to take enforcement action in this case. If you do not re-instate Penny the case will no-doubt go to an Employment Tribunal and you will lose as this is a core right under the SRSCRegs and that will cost yourselves a pretty penny in legal fees and compensation.

Mick Holder

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: “‘mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk'” <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Massie, Diane” <d.h.massie@abdn.ac.uk>

Date: 06/24/2009 03:33PM

Cc: “‘gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk'” <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, “‘pgower@stevenson.ac.uk'” <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

Subject:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to protest at the treatment and victimisation of Penny Gower, an elected representative of the Scottish teaching union, the EIS, whom you’ve seen fit to summarily dismiss from her job at Carnegie College, for carrying out her statutory role. I am also aware that this is not the first time the college has sought to victimise her for highlighting health and safety issues.

I am also appalled to hear that at her disciplinary hearing she was given no opportunity to call witnesses, or appeal the decision

As a member of the Higher Education National Industrial Committee of Unitetheunion repesenting all levels of staff throughout the UK I shall be raising this matter with our members who work in the higher education sector.

Such treatment of a union activist can only serve to damage the reputation of your college. Given such unacceptable victimisation  recruitment of staff may prove difficult for carnegie college in the  future..

Victimisation of trade unionists is simply unacceptable. I don’t doubt that Penny will gain support across our movement.

Diane Massie

University of Aberdeen

Unitetheunion Workplace representative and H&S representative

Mrs Diane Massie

Department of Molecular & Cell Biology

School of Medical Sciences

Institute of Medical Sciences

Ashgrove Road West

Aberdeen

AB25 2ZD

Telephone 01224 555922/21

Fax       01224 55844

Mobile    07719259570

The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013683.

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Angela McCormick” <amccormick@coatbridge.ac.uk>

Date: 06/24/2009 11:50AM

Subject: Support for Penny Gower

Dear all

EIS members at Coatbridge College are fully behind your campaign against the victimisation of EIS H&S Representative, Penny Gower.

We have discussed the situation at two branch meetings and wish to convey our full support for Penny and the branch at Carnegie College .

This affects us all and cannot be allowed to stand.

Please keep us informed and we will give our support in whatever way we can.

Yours in Solidarity

Angela McCormick

EIS Branch Convenor

Coatbridge College

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

From: “Angela Lamb” <Angela.Lamb@ed.ac.uk>

Date: 06/18/2009 03:03PM

Cc: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Subject: Message of support

Dear Penny

We would like to extend our support to you in your campaign for justice.

Health and Safety is a basic right of every worker.

It was noted at our recent UCU congress that this is an area which is likely

to come under attack in the recession. Such attacks don’t happen in the

abstract, it is individuals like you who pursue health and safety on the

ground who will bear the brunt of such attacks.

It is our responsibility as trade unionists and in particular branches like

ours in the education sector to do all we can to support you.

Please keep us informed of your campaign and of anything we can do to help.

regards

Angi

Angela Lamb

Honorary President

UCU Edinburgh

Angela.Lamb@ed.ac.uk

0131 650 4370

https://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/UCUEdinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in

Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

From: “South Lanarkshire-Sec LMoore” <southlanark@eis.org.uk>

Date: 06/17/2009 12:23PM

Cc: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

Subject: From EIS South Lanarkshire

Penny

Greetings from South Lanarkshire Association.

I was shocked to hear of your dismissal for carrying out a health and

safety inspection.  It is appalling that they have taken this action

when health and safety is of paramount importance to our members and

many Authorities, Colleges and Management Teams only pay lip service to

it.

I will raise this matter at our next Committee of Management.  You have

our full support.

Best wishes to you and your Branch.

Kind regards

Linzi Moore

South Lanarkshire EIS Secretary

Linzi

Linzi Moore

EIS South Lanarkshire Local Association Secretary

Council Offices

Brandon Gate

Leechlee Road

Hamilton

ML3 OXB

Tel:   01698 452769

Mob: 0797 175 2998

EMAIL DISCLAIMER

The information contained in this message is confidential to the

intended recipient. The dissemination, distribution, copying or

disclosure of this message or its contents is prohibited unless

authorised by the sender. If you receive this message in error,

please immediately notify the sender and delete the message from

your system. Neither the EIS nor the sender accepts any responsibility

for viruses and it is your responsibility to scan the message and any

attachments.

The Educational Institute of Scotland

46 Moray Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BH Tel: 0131 225 6244

—–Forwarded by Graham Watt/Staff/Staff/LCH on 08/20/2009 03:32PM —–

To: <mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>

From: “Angela Lamb” <Angela.Lamb@ed.ac.uk>

Date: 06/18/2009 03:08PM

Cc: <gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk>, <pgower@stevenson.ac.uk>

Subject: Fw: Message of protest

Dear Ms Philp

We are most disturbed to learn of Carnegie College’s dismissal of Penny

Gower for carrying out her duties as an elected Health and Safety

representative.

As you will be aware health and safety is one of the most basic rights trade

unionists, indeed workers, have under the law. Any employer breaching these

rights would be, quite rightly in our opinion, viewed with deep mistrust and

significantly damage their establishment’s reputation.

Immediate reinstatement of Penny Gower would seem to be the least damaging

route for all concerned.

regards

Angela Lamb

Honorary President

UCU Edinburgh

Angela.Lamb@ed.ac.uk

0131 650 4370

https://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/UCUEdinburgh

……………………………………….

McKay, Gillian [Gillian.McKay@unitetheunion.com]

From: McKay, Gillian [mailto:Gillian.McKay@unitetheunion.com]
Sent: Wed 01/07/2009 08:47
To: Gower, Penny
Subject: Message of support

Hello Penny,

I would just like to say how sorry I am that you have been dismissed by your employer for carrying out your trade union duties.  I have read the minutes of your meeting and it would appear to me that the decision to dismiss you was made before you even started the meeting, thereby automatically making your dismissal unfair.

To dismiss a trade union activist for carrying out her role as a H & S representative is completely out of line, the whole point of the legislation is to give H & S reps the authority to carryout inspections and highlight dangers to both employers and employees. You are also legally entitled to the time off to carry out these duties,   Your ex employer is clearly happy to put at risk the health and well being of its employees and try to make an example of you in the process.

I would like to wish you all the very best with your Employment Tribunal and I hope that the press portray the employer for what they are.  I will raise your case within my union at all possible times.  Remember you have a whole family of trade unionists behind you who fully support you, not only the EIS, but all trade unions.  Not only are they your friend but as a trade union H & S representative you are part of our family.  We protect our own!!

Yours in solidarity

Sister Gillian

Gillian McKay
Regional Officer
Unite the UNION

* Tel: 0845 345 0145
* Fax: 0131 558 1027
* E-mail: gillian.mckay@unitetheunion.com <gillian.mckay@unitetheunion.com>
* Web: http://www.amicustheunion.org <https://webmail.amicustheunion.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.amicustheunion.org>
*

…………….. From: Roy McCabe [mailto:Roy.McCabe@coleggwent.ac.uk]
Sent: Tue 30/06/2009 15:52
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; Gower, Penny
Subject:

TO WHO’M IT MAY CONCERN

I wish to strenuously condemn the treatment handed out to Penny Gower at Carnegie College in Glasgow. The Senior Management at the College do not appear to have even a rudimentary knowledge of the Regulations which cover Health and Safety in the Workplace. Trade Union Health and Safety Reps have the right to conduct inspections of the workplace at least every 3 months. They do NOT need prior approval from management but it is recommended that an arrangement is put in place and it is good practice to do the inspection together so that issues can get resolved quickly.

It is fairly obvious from reading the record of the disciplinary hearing that Carnegie college management do not understand that Health and Safety Reps have statutory rights.

Considering the College receives public funds it must be questionable whether the College Governors (and where is the right to appeal a dismissal to a Governing Body which surely exists in every public body?) are exercising proper control and use of public money. This is a clear case of detrimental treatment of a Trade Union Health and Safety Rep due to the pursuance of her legitimate activities. The employment tribunal will surely rule against the employer (there are so many things which are against common justice – e.g. inability to appeal, inability to have an adjournment during the hearing, inability to question witnesses or to bring witnesses to the hearing etc).

The best way to resist this scandalous treatment is for EIS in Scotland to declare a dispute and to call for solidarity from the whole of EIS in Scotland and in particular from EIS members at Carnegie. They should get support from their colleagues in UCU Scotland and from UCU in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We must not allow ignorant management to ride roughshod over legal obligations and to discipline and dismiss a Health and safety Rep for carrying out her legitimate duties.

Roy McCabe – UCU Branch Chair, Coleg Gwent, South Wales

Writing in a personal capacity.

……………………………

From: anne mccrae [mailto:sandyhills5@hotmail.com]
Sent: Sat 20/06/2009 13:06
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; Gower, Penny
Subject: Sacking of Penny Gower

At the Trinity Academy  EIS meeting on Friday 12 June I gave a report of decisions taken at the union AGM in Perth including the statement by the EIS president David Drever on the sacking of Penny Gower by Carnegie College. Members were shocked that a health and safety rep had been dismissed for trying to carry out her legitimate union duties.
We send a message of support to Penny herself, the Carnegie College EIS branch and condemn the college’s anti-trade union activity.
Best wishes
Annie McCrae
Trinity Academy EIS Rep

……………………..


From: una walsh [mailto:unawalsh@msn.com]
Sent: Tue 16/06/2009 18:59
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; gwatt@carnegiecollege.ac.uk; Gower, Penny
Subject: Unfair Dismissal

Dear Sir or Madam, I write as a Health and Safety representative.  As a H&S Rep I am disgusted by the sacking of fellow rep Penny Gower. This is a flagrant breach of the law, such arrogant ignorant disrespect for both your employees and the law is unacceptable in a seat of higher education. Perhaps when Ms Gower is reinstated your HR manager should be sent for a course in H&S law.  Yours Sincerely Una Walsh.

……………….


From: Barry Spencer [mailto:bazzra@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tue 16/06/2009 15:59
To: Gower, Penny
Subject: Stoneage.

Hellow Penny,

Sorry to hear of your plight and convinved it will be resolved in due course.  below is the content i mailed to the collage in protest.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I believe your institution has gone back to the stone age in fostering good working relations with trade Unionists.  I cannot believe an institution of your standing could do such a thing to an individual that only has the interests of her fellow workers at heart.  Further, it is in the interest of your institution that safety matters are swiftly brought to your attention-we all have a duty of care; including yourself. I have seen the consequences of not taking notice in safety matters.

Absolute disgrace-you should resign. You have done a great disservice to Higher Education.

Barry Spencer. (Cleaner).

Good Luck Penny.

Regards Barry.
Unite.

…………………..


From: Strong, Gordon R [mailto:G.R.Strong@hw.ac.uk]
Sent: Tue 16/06/2009 12:58
To: Gower, Penny
Subject: support

I am supportive of Penny in all she did and ask the Principal to reinstate her, and do the honourable thing and resign

Gordon Strong

Heriot watt uni

UNITE H@S rep

…………………..

25 August 09

For the attention of Marianne Philp

On the day before the ET hearing in respect of your disgraceful action against a legally appointed trade union safety representative, please pass on to the Board of Management of your institution my profound condemnation of their treatment of Penny Gower.  Can you also let them know that I, and many thousands of other trade unionists throughout the UK sincerly hope that you are treated with the contempt that you deserve at the forthcoming tribunal hearing.

Your actions are illegal and unconstitutional, and there is no doubt the tribunal will find in Penny’s favour.  More’s the pity that the law does not provide for a prison sentence to be imposed on rogue employers such as yourselves when they deliberately and calculatingly act with such cynical disregard for the law.  I hope that the level of compensation awarded to Penny will be sufficient to make the board of management look again at the performance of the people they employ as senior managers in the institution, and take some action to curb their premeditated criminal activity – because breaches of health and safety law are criminal breaches – and the abuse and maladministration of public funds that it causes.  Such abuse of public finance should be brought to the attention of the funding bodies of your institution so they become aware of your criminal activity.

Here’s looking at you to lose bigtime!

John Bamford

Health and Safety Advisor

Hazards campaigner

…………

25 August 09

Hi Penny

Just a message to make sure you keep your spirits up for the start of the Tribunal, keep at it.

Cheers Stevie Ryan

Chair Scottish Hazards

………………………….

From: John Yandell <J.Yandell@ioe.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 2:55 PM
Subject: The victimisation of Penny Gower

Dear Mr McIntosh

On behalf of the UCU branch at the institute of Education, University of London, I am writing to you as Principal of Carnegie College to object to the dismissal of Penny Gower, an elected health and safety representative of  EIS, whom you have seen fit to summarily dismiss from her job for conducting a safety inspection.

It is entirely unacceptable for Penny to have been dismissed for taking part in her legitimate trade union duties and activities. We are also appalled to hear that at her disciplinary hearing she was given no opportunity to call witnesses, or appeal the decision. It is scandalous that the college management have acted in this way, in flagrant breach of Penny’s rights as a trade union representative, a worker – and a human being.

We hope that Penny is successful in her industrial tribunal and that she is reinstated to her post without discrimination or further victimisation.

Yours

John Yandell

Local UCU Branch President

Room 619

Institute of Education

20 Bedford Way

London WC1H OAL

020 7612 6992

…………………………….

From: Sheena Farenden <sheena.farenden@sky.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:21 PM
Subject: Bullying and Harassment of H & S Rep
To: mphilp@carnegiecollege.ac.uk
Cc: rfarmer@carnegiecollege.ac.uk, pennygower1@googlemail.com

I am glad to see that Penny Gower has despite your bullying and harassment of a H & S representative still got the strength of mind to be able to carry on the action against your organisation regarding this totally unacceptable behaviour.

You may not like H & S legislation and the fact that H & S reps have rights but then it is rare that a non-complying employer would like the presence of any sort of union rep.

Not only have you made your staff work in difficult and dangerous conditions you have not allowed an accredited H & S Rep to undertake her lawful duties and then punished her for trying to do so. If anyone should have been disciplined here it was the managers who allowed this to happen.

I suggest that despite the outcome which will surely be in Penny’s favour you sort out the Equality, Diversity, Bullying and Harassment Policies and arrange disciplinary action regarding those involved in this case along with the relevant training for those whose job it is to know about this legislation as they obviously do not understand Employment Law.

I hope they throw the book at you.

Good Luck Penny

Sheena Farenden

H & S Officer

PCS

HMRC

East London Network