Support for sacked union representative Alison Morris grows

Morris was dismissed by the drug charity change, grow, live in a dispute about allegedly faulty fire alarms in a Birmingham office

Alison Morris
Alison Morris

Almost 3,000 emails have been sent to the chief executive of the drug charity change, grow, live in support of a health and safety representative who was sacked in a row over fire safety, according to the trade union Unite.

Unite said Alison Morris, who had a role in CGL’s Birmingham operation Reach Out Recovery, was unfairly sacked last month after a dispute that emerged from a joint inspection with a fire officer of the charity’s Scala House office in Birmingham city centre in January.

The union said the inspection found that some of the fire alarms in the building were not working, and Morris, who had been at the charity since March 2015, reported that the building might be closed if the problem was not addressed by the next day.

But according to Unite, CGL senior management claimed she said the building would close, which the management team said constituted allegedly "intentionally misleading management".

The union strongly disputes the senior management’s views on what Morris said.

Unite said it had lodged an internal appeal against CGL’s decision to dismiss Morris, which will be heard at a meeting on 16 May. It has also confirmed that it will lodge an unfair dismissal claim at the employment tribunal if the internal appeal fails.

The union said that since her dismissal more than 3,000 emails in support of Morris had been sent to David Biddle, chief executive of CGL.

Unite held a demonstration in support of Morris on 28 April, and is planning to hold another demonstration on Friday.

Caren Evans, regional officer at Unite, said: "This is one of the most unfair and cack-handed sackings that I have come across – it defies all justice. We call upon CGL to immediately reinstate Alison, an exemplary employee, to her job.

"Her workmates know that, without Alison’s actions in raising concerns, if a fire had broken out there would have been no alarm and their lives would have been at risk. 

"Any union rep would have done the same; CGL workers know that, and they know they could be next for the chop based on a spurious trumped-up charge.

"If Alison is not reinstated, there is a strong likelihood we will be holding an industrial action ballot on this issue."

A spokeswoman for CGL said: "CGL takes its responsibilities as an employer seriously, with robust policies and procedures in place to ensure staff are treated fairly. The safety and wellbeing of staff and our service users is our absolute priority and something we rightly invest considerable resources and effort into getting right.

"As there is an ongoing appeal process regarding a member of staff who was recently dismissed, we are unable to comment further on the specific details of this case at this time."

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