Union takes industrial action on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day over victimisation of rep

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The RMT has confirmed it is to take strike action on Wightlink’s Portsmouth routes on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day over the victimisation and unfair dismissal of an RMT union representative Paul Kelly.

Paul Kelly was dismissed by the company on blatantly trumped up charges when his only real crime was actively supporting his members and following the democratically agreed policies of the union. An initially reasonable response to a minor incident, with informal advice accepted by all involved, was suddenly escalated into an all out attack on Paul resulting in his victimisation and unfair dismissal.

The union is firmly of the view that Paul’s real “crime” is that he had been instrumental in leading a union campaign against the imposition of new rosters and highlighting management deficiencies which had led to the intervention of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the grounds of safety.

A local manager took exception to the strong campaigning role of the union and as a consequence bulldozed through dismissal on the grounds of the most minor of infringements and on trumped up charges for an alleged incident for which there are no witnesses and which was only thrown into the mix later in the campaign of victimisation.

General secretary Bob Crow said: “Paul Kelly’s case is one of the most blatant examples of victimisation for union activities you will ever come across.RMT members have voted overwhelmingly for action in support of their colleague and management should take note of that strength of feeling.

“Once again RMT finds itself having to defend an elected and accredited union representative, whose only real crime is to fight for the members he represents, regularly challenging the company and ensuring all agreements are followed correctly.

“The events leading up to our member’s dismissal appear farcical, with informal advice suddenly escalated to dismissal, and clearly show an employer jumping at the opportunity to remove an effective representative.

“RMT remains available for talks and we will continue to pursue all channels to obtain justice in Paul Kelly’s case.”

* The strike action is confirmed as follows: 00:01 hours until 23:59 hours on 24th December 2011 and again from 00:01 hours until 23:59 hours on 26th December 2011. Members will not work any overtime or rest days from 00:01 on 24th December 2011 until further notice.


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