Union believes rep was dismissed for leading campaign against imposition of new rosters and highlighting managerial failures

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RMT members on Wightlink’s Portsmouth routes are to ballot for strike action over the victimisation and unfair dismissal of an RMT union representative Paul Kelly.

Paul Kelly was dismissed by the company on blatant and 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.

RMT 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.

RMT 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. Once again RMT finds itself having to defend an elected and accredited union representative, whose only real crime is to continually defend 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.

“As a result, and in order to obtain justice in the face of this blatant victimisation, RMT will begin balloting tomorrow (30th November) for strike action and action short of strike covering all Wightlink [Guernsey] Ltd members who work on the Portsmouth routes.

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


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