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GLASGOW IN NEW BID TO OVERTURN TRIBUNAL DECISION ON SACKED SOCIAL WORKERS

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Glasgow City Council has launched a new move against an employment tribunal ruling which ordered it to reinstate tw...
Glasgow City Council has launched a new move against an employment tribunal ruling which ordered it to reinstate two social workers, reports The Scotsman (p11).

The council was ordered by the tribunal in April to re-employ Ian Fergus and Pat Maughan after it declared they had been unfairly dismissed.

Two appeals against the decision have already been rejected by the employment appeals tribunal but it emerged last night that the council has asked the tribunal for a review hearing to explain that it is 'not practicable' to reinstate the pair, who are both shop stewards.

The hearing has been scheduled for next month. Politicians and union leaders last night condemned the move and accused the council of performing a witchhunt and undermining the tribunal process.

Tommy Sheridan, the Scottish Socialist Party MSP for Glasgow, said the council's reaction to the tribunal's decision had been 'breathtaking'. He said: 'If it was the most reactionary Tory council in southern England who had behaved in this way, there would be an outcry. The fact that this is being done by a so-called socialist council is absolutely astonishing.'

Unison sent out ballot papers to the council's 3,500 social work staff last week ahead of anticipated strike action in support of the men.

The Glasgow branch secretary, Angela Lynes, said yesterday she expected the workforce to vote in favour of the strike when the result of the postal ballot is announced in next week.

She added: 'The council is clearly in the wrong and appears willing to spend taxpayer's money on legal costs instead of implementing the decision of the independent employment tribunal.'

The tribunal chairman cannot make the council reinstate the men, but if the original decision is upheld, then the council would be forced into making large compensation payments.

Mr Fergus, 43, a social worker with 12 year's experience of working with paedophiles, rapists and murderers, and Mr Maughan, 44, a drugs worker with the council's rough sleepers initiative, were sacked in April last year after taking part in a wildcat strike action in support of a suspended colleague, 'Red' Roddy Slorach, a controversial union leader who was facing disciplinary action.

Both men had been part of a group of 25 workers who left their posts and turned up at Mr Slorach's disciplinary hearing. The tribunal found that the two men, the only workers to be disciplined, were 25 per cent responsible for their dismissals but that their sackings were unfair.

The council was ordered to pay the men a total of£28,000 in lost wages but neither man has received any compensation to date.

A council spokesman confirmed yesterday that it had asked for another hearing and said it intended to point out that Mr Fergus and Mr Maughan were deemed 25 per cent to blame for their sackings.

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