CHARLOTTE MONRO HAS BEEN REINSTATED BY BARTS HOSPITAL TRUST!!!!!!
WHAT A PRINCIPLED STAND! WHAT A VICTORY FOR CHARLOTTE, WHIPPS CROSS AND THE NHS
From Charlotte’s campaign
We have had wonderful news. Charlotte has been reinstated and will return to work in Whipps Cross Hospital. Following the tribunal hearing Barts Health NHS Trust invited her to return. This is a vindication of Charlotte and the stand we all have taken.
Your support has been a very significant factor in this campaign and its success. Thank you all so much. As Charlotte says in her personal statement below:
“Together we are standing up for what we believe in and this has made all the difference.”
Reistate Charlotte Campaign
Report from Charlotte’s Employment Tribunal 20 March 2015
CHARLOTTE MONRO TRIBUNAL ENDS – A FIGHT WELL FOUGHT
from Reinstate Charlotte Monro Campaign
Charlotte Monro’s tribunal hearing finished this week and the panel is now considering the outcome. The public seats were packed with colleagues, campaigners, friends, family who came to give support and sat gripped through the hours of evidence. The legal team provided by her union UNISON did a fantastic job. For all of us who were there it has been a powerful experience.
Listening to the evidence it became clear that Charlotte had been dismissed because she was an effective trade union rep who had spoken out in a public and that the disciplinary process and sacking were initiated by the senior leadership team or HR and not by her own manager.
The current difficulties Whipps Cross Hospital and Barts Health Trust are in is headline news. An exodus of experienced staff and heavy reliance on agency workers has, as people feared, impacted on patient care. The Care Quality Commission is clear the problem lies in a cultural and leadership issue not with front line staff, and points to the 2013 down banding of nursing staff. Charlotte’s suspension from key trade union duties took place as this was being prepared. Her dismissal cannot in our view be separated from of the culture of bullying and intimidation that has continued to put staff in fear of speaking out.
Reinstatement of Charlotte would be a very real step in moving away from this negative culture and we believe would help to restore staff morale at Whipps Cross.
In the course of the tribunal very important questions have been explored.
On the last day the Trust formally conceded that Charlotte’s speaking at scrutiny committee did amount to a protected disclosure (whistle blowing). She had spoken of concerns over cuts to the excellent Whipps Cross stroke service.
The judge said the tribunal would consider whether or not disciplinary action on any of the other issues would be likely to have been taken if it were not for the claimant speaking at scrutiny, and noted that it was within days of this the disciplinary process was launched.
On the question of a trade union rep talking to staff about their jobs being at risk before the official launch of consultation, the judge identified the potential conflict of interest between the obligations of TU representatives to the people they represent, and an obligation of confidentiality set by an employer.
Charlotte’s past convictions and the fact that they were spent convictions other than in the specific employment context where they should have been declared was a point of focus for the tribunal. The judge was clearly of the view that the specific context of political protests etc. and the circumstances should have been takin into account in considering whether they were relevant to her present employment and long successful career.
Charlotte’s barrister submitted that her dismissal for not declaring spent convictions was a breach of article eight of the human rights act, the right to private and family life. She explained that work is part of a person’s private life because it becomes part of your identity, and that once a conviction is spent it becomes part of private life; therefore a decision to refuse NHS employment (or to dismiss an employee) as a result of spent convictions must be considered very carefully and taken only if genuinely necessary e.g. because of risk to patients. Charlotte’s managers, provided evidence that they were completely confident that Charlotte posed no risk to patients and public; on the contrary they stated that she did her job extremely well and demonstrated great integrity.
The dismissal was therefore argued to be a breach of Bart’s duty as a public body to uphold human rights.
It was with great concern that we noticed that at least 6 other staff members from Bart’s were at the Tribunal premises attending their own Employment Tribunals at the same time as Charlotte.
We await the result of the Employment Tribunal
Excellent updates on January days from Charlotte’s tribunal on Evening Standard journalist Ross Lydall’s blog http://bit.ly/1E7Dx9M
See video of tribunal picket here
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Watch accompanying video from Stuart Monro
ONLINE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF CHARLOTTE MONRO CALLING FOR HER REINSTATEMENT
Encourage workmates, family and friends to sign and pass on
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CHARLOTTE FROM DAVE PRENTIS, GENERAL SECRETARY OF UNISON
“Charlotte Monro has worked as an occupational therapist in the NHS for 34 years, employed by Whipps Cross NHS Trust – now Barts NHS Trust – since 1987. She was an active trade unionist for many years, representing workers at Whipps Cross Hospital as staff side chair and UNISON branch chair. She was dismissed by the Trust on 4 November 2013 following a disciplinary process.
UNISON is supporting Charlotte in taking Barts NHS Trust to an Employment Tribunal claiming that she was unfairly dismissed by the trust. No employer should be allowed to act in this way. No NHS Trust can afford to lose such experienced and committed staff. We call on the trust to reconsider its decision to dismiss such a long serving and valued health service worker and union official, and to recognise the impact this has on the wider workforce morale and the reputation of the trust.”
General secretary, UNISON
On 1 May Charlotte heard that there was an administrative error – having heard that there was no case against her, she then heard that in fact that Barts have put a case against her.
Charlotte remains in fighting mood despite this setback. She comments:
‘this was all a tribunal administration mistake, the trust had sent in a response in defense against my claim by the deadline, so the judgment in my favour (though it has not yet been rescinded) is highly unlikely to stand and there is likely to be a hearing, probably later in the year.
The incredibly warm and overjoyed responses I have had from so many people just show how crucial this all is and that to fight this to win the moral, and legal case is so important.
Your continuing support IS needed !!!
Thank you, Charlotte
Latest news is that Unison are supporting Charlotte to take her case to an Employment Tribunal. The issues in her case, highlighted so effectively by the campaign, have significance for the trade union movement across the NHS and wider, for the right of health staff and their unions to speak out, and to join with the communities we serve in defence of services.
CQC REPORT ON BARTS HEALTH TRUST
You may have seen on the news that the Care Quality Commission report following their in-depth inspection of Barts Health Trust last November found “Morale across the trust is low, with staff being uncertain of their future with the trust and a perception of a closed culture and bullying. Too many members of staff of all levels and across all sites came to us to express their concerns about being bullied. Many only agreed to speak with us if they could be anonymous. In the 2013 staff survey 32% of staff reported being bullied;” You can read the report on http://www.cqc.org.uk/directory/r1h
BBC London covered the report and included an interview with Charlotte – see this on: http://youtu.be/L1YOoHZIUUw
Barts Heaalth treatment of Charlotte’s had been the visible tip of this dangerous culture beneath the surface, now brought out into the open.
The appeal panel upheld her dismissal – on two allegations – talking to staff about proposals to cut their posts (failure to ‘respect confidentiality’) and of failing to declare past convictions. The allegation of ‘bringing the Trust into disrepute’ speaking at Scrutiny Committee was not upheld at appeal, the panel saying the trust ‘supports its staff in raising concerns’ and recognised Charlotte’s ‘personal commitment … and passion for the service’. But they still dismissed her, and speaking out remains the trigger. However the campaign is clearly having its impact.
Bullying fears and the CQC report had front page coverage in the local press, which also published a flood of letters in response to a vindictive statement about CharlottE implying she was a risk to patients that the Trust released as soon as the appeal outcome was known. Many of you may have received something similar in response to your emails.
Here is a link to the local press coverage: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/search/?search=barts+health
This campaign sees itself as part of the wider campaign to oppose bullying of trade unionists in all work places and attempts to silence NHS staff and their representatives through intimidation and a culture of fear.
Please forward this update and the links to others
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CHARLOTTE TO BARTS BOARD
3 East London health campaigns made a moving and powerful statement in support of Charlotte Monro to a meeting of the Barts Trust Board on Wednesday 8 January.
GUARDIAN ARTICLE FROM POLLY TOYNBEE
Click here to read excellent article about Charlotte’s case
BBC LONDON NEWS ITEM WHICH INCLUDES CHARLOTTE’S CASE
Click here to view
PROTEST OUTSIDE BARTS 5 DECEMBER
Pictures of protest outside Royal London Hospital on the eve of Charlotte’s appeal which is on Thursday 5 Decembe
Charlotte Monro is a well-respected, longstanding staff member and trade union representative at Whipps Cross Hospital. In 2009 Charlotte received a special award from the Trust for her tireless efforts to defend services. The new Barts Health Trust has now dismissed her because she continued to do so!
Hundreds of staff are being down-graded and services across East London are being cut. As Unison Branch Chair, Charlotte raised concerns of staff over the impact of cuts on patient care with Waltham Forest Health Scrutiny Committee, and discussed the cuts with her union members.
For this she has been sacked! This is an attack on the right to speak out in the NHS, and on the rights of health staff to organise in trade unions and to campaign for services. We believe a climate of silencing staff through intimidation has no place in a caring service.
The NHS belongs to all of us. The voice of communities, patients, the health staff and their representatives must be heard, and our contribution to determining the future of services and the NHS be secured. Informed and open debate is needed in a climate of confidence.
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