We thought that people might wonder what it is that Solidarity does week-in week out. Maybe you read our commentary on the news and other Unions but don't understand our bread and butter work. With this in mind we thought we would look at recent cases handled by Solidarity representatives. We’ve not given details of names for confidentiality reasons. It should give you an idea of the broad range of cases we handle on a regular basis and improve your understanding as to how we handle problems and give you some tips that we hope you won’t need! It should also give you an understanding of how unions, and certainly not just ours, make a difference in the lives of ordinary people - for the better!
False accusations against a care worker
A care worker was accused of unprofessional behaviour by a colleague. There were several incidents cited.
Most of the incidents were shown to be false and others were a case of one person’s word against another.
After further discussion between the Rep and our member it emerged that had been an earlier incident between the member and the accuser before the accusations were made.
This incident involved sexually suggestive comments made by the later accuser.
Our member had threatened to advise their mutual Manager, and this had provoked the accuser to get in accusations first.
The member was taken off suspension and is back at work.
This case shows how important it is for our members to disclose all the relevant facts to their union representative!
Stressed Social Worker dismissed
A Social Worker with a history of depression was sacked because of procedural mistakes in dealing with a client.
Occupational Health cautions about placing too much stress on the worker following a return to work had not been heeded by the employer.
Solidarity represented throughout the process and lodged a Tribunal claim.
The employer settled the case rather than go to the Tribunal.
Our member received a substantial settlement and standard reference. He has since found alternative employment.
This case shows that persistence in pursuing a claim can pay off.
A member complained that they were not being treated fairly and that this had impacted upon their ability to obtain promotion. It was a complicated case with many twists and turns.
It is often difficult to prove poor behaviour/bullying or harassment as the perpetrator usually keeps it one on one.
In this case it was possible to find some documentary evidence and witnesses (most are usually reluctant to speak out for fear of a backlash).
Even if there is no corroboration in support a harassed employee sometimes the complainant can frighten off the perpetrator(s) in the future.
As a result of union involvement our member began to be treated with more respect and is hopefully progressing within the Company.
Anyone suffering problems at work should record everything in a diary, including notes of who was present, what was said and how the impact on them.
It’s important that you contact our Union at an early stage so that we can give you personal advice.
Made redundant on poor terms
A non-member was threatened with redundancy even though she had worked for the same company for 20 years.
It was hard to challenge the companies business case. (it usually is) as they were restructuring and there would be others under threat.
However, the process they had followed was flawed and once she was made redundant we argued that it was unfair dismissal.
Ultimately the now member received an enhanced redundancy package, primarily more money.
It always pays to look at the whole process and sometimes it is better to focus on what can be achieved rather than what may not be possible.
Mechanic accused of poor performance
A mechanic accused of poor performance was taken to a disciplinary by his employer.
After Solidarity representation all but one charge was dismissed, and an informal warning issued for the last. The mechanic had not been happy in his job for some time.
The mechanic chose to give notice and leave his job after working that period (one month). He immediately found new employment with better conditions.
Sometimes even if you win at a disciplinary it is best to take stock and see if you want to work for that firm anymore.
Falsely accused of sexual harassment
Our union generally deals with cases where members have suffered sexual harassment.
In this case, however, one of our members had been falsely accused of being the perpetrator.
Despite a lack of evidence, he was dismissed from his position and his appeal refused.
The Union lodged a claim for unfair dismissal.
The former employer settled the case rather than go to a tribunal with a payment and standard reference being agreed.
Union takes on a Criminal Injuries Compensation appeal and goes "extra mile"
Going the extra mile In a rare case not involved with employment the union provided pro bono services to a member wrongly denied Criminal Injuries Compensation after being stabbed.
The Union arranged a diagnosis from a private Psychiatrist as our underfunded NHS were unable to meet Tribunal deadlines.
The Union drafted and submitted an appeal for the member.
Our General Secretary, Pat Harrington, represented at the appeal and won a substantial award for the member.
If you want to enjoy union protection you can join here:http://www.solidaritytradeunion.com/join-us-now.html