Lindsay Ward pictured) and the member she represented have agreed for the below case to be added to the branch website as a news story.
“I have been a Unison representative for the South Cambs area for now some years, of which I thoroughly enjoy helping our members within the local area with advice and a friendly ear to concerns and worries.
I picked up a case after a Unison member had attended various meetings without representation over several months with their employer.
Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan and they were invited to attend a final panel meeting where the member was dismissed and there contract was terminated.
Following on from being dismissed from there post I met with the UNISON member on several times, with regular phone calls and meetings , checking on there welfare and supporting them.
I asked the member to fill in a UNISON case form, so that everything is documented so there is a written record of what has been happened and what outcome they would like and so I knew what it was that the member wanted.
We discussed on various occasions, how we could appeal the dismissal and on what grounds.
I myself am passionate about the equality act 2010 and employment issues and I could see that our member may be covered under the equality act and looked into if the employer had made any reasonable adjustments and I began to explore if they had or not.
We worked together on the appeal and we got together a statement of case. I helped the member to write a statement of case, as I think it always helps to give there side of the story in a breakdown of why things may or may not have happened.
We documented clear and concise information for the appeal panel to read.
Throughout the appeal process I was in contact with HR on behalf of the member and we finally had a date for the appeal hearing.
On the day of appeal hearing understandably the member was very nervous and I supported the member and presented to the panel when the member found it difficult to answer due to the circumstances being discussed, and importantly they knew I was there for them.
In the meeting we had several breaks as I could see the member becoming distressed, the panel where very understanding of there situation and listened to all concerns raised by myself and the member and put the member at ease throughout.
The appeal decision was not given on the day, but the member decided they wanted the decision to be given to them in person. We had been advised this could be 7/10 days.
Again I called the UNISON member on several occasions to see how they where coping , I feel that is very important for UNISON members to know they have our support as accredited and trained reps and can allay some of their worries to us. We finally had a date to meet with the chair of the panel to give us there final decision, I was there with our member to support them through to the end whatever the outcome.
I am pleased to say that we won the appeal and our member was reinstated with the trust with no loss of pay and continuation of service.
My advice to any UNISON member has been and always will be that in any meeting with your employer that allows a rep to attend you contact a UNISON representative for support.
Above all I am always happy to help where I can in my role as a UNISON representative and as a colleague.
South Cambridgeshire UNISON representative.