30 April 2015
A workplace rep has won his Employment Tribunal case for unfair dismissal.
John Kelly, a rigger who worked for three years at a power station being built at Runcorn, was dismissed by his employer Interserve Industrial Services because of his union activities as a rep for Unite.
Kelly was awarded £3,253 in damages for injured feelings.
The tribunal decided that the reason Kelly was not offered work at the company’s Capenhurst sight when work at Runcorn came to an end in July 2014 was because of his union affiliation and role as a workplace representative. His construction manager Trevor Collins had stated on Facebook that he disliked the ‘Liverpudlian elements’ in the workforce.
The judgement stated: “The tribunal did not find it credible that the claimant (John Kelly) had been considered for vacant positions by Trevor Collins.
“In short, Trevor Collins did not want the claimant (an employee representative for Unite and activist) working on the Capenhurst project under his management, he was motivated by the claimant’s membership of Unite and his known activities in that capacity.”
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This is a great victory which draws a line in the sand for construction industry employers who are tempted to victimise and blacklist our members for carrying out legitimate trade union activities.
“We welcome Labour’s pledge to outlaw the odious practice of blacklisting once and for all.”
John Kelly said: “I feel very pleased that I took this company on with the help of Unite, as this shows that bad employers can be stood up to and be defeated. The main reason was to show other lads and shop stewards we are getting blacklisted and we should stand up for our rights.”