Union slams council over handling of 'bullying and harassment' claims
- Credit: Sonya Duncan/Breckland Council/A
A workers' union has slammed a council after it apologised and paid substantial damages to councillors who were cleared of bullying claims.
Unite said it was "completely justified" in standing by members who accused two Attleborough town councillors of "harassment, bullying and intimidation" last year.
Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer received a full apology from Attleborough Town Council (ATC) last week, 15 months after allegations first emerged.
But Miles Hubbard, Unite's regional officer, argued the council had "failed in its duty of care" to employees.
He said: “Unite was completely justified in standing by members over allegations that a number of councillors had waged a systematic and sustained campaign of bullying and harassment against staff employed by ATC.
“It is the legitimate role of a trade union to defend members when they raise serious allegations. We stood by them then and do so now.
“We note that the complaints of bullying have never been satisfactorily resolved by the town council. In fact, the statement issued by the council says they have decided not to investigate.
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"To refuse to investigate leaves a stench of political interference which won’t go away.
Mr Hubbard contacted ATC in February last year, complaining that members had described being bullied and harassed.
Police were later called to a meeting at the town hall where a motion to remove Miss Taylor and Mr Tyrer from committee duties was being discussed.
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Mr Hubbard subsequently labelled protestors' actions as "gangsterism" and Attleborough "like a scene from The Godfather".
More than a year on, he added that "serious questions" needed to be asked regarding ATC's payment of taxpayers’ money to the accused councillors.
Ahead of publication of a judicial review report, Mr Leslie said more details on the heated saga would soon become clear.
“I’m happy to report that historic staff issues have been resolved and the current cooperation between staff and councillors is exemplary," he added.
"I am confident the report's public release will bring the transparency residents need to form a balanced opinion of the events and efforts to resolve them."