A fired union rep at Whipps Cross Hospital was defended by former employees at a tribunal today.
The tribunal resumed today for Charlotte Monro, former moving and handling coordinator at the Leytonstone hospital, at Anchorage House, in Clove Crescent, Poplar.
Barts Health said the Unison rep on a number of occasions told staff about plans for redundancies in pre-consultation meetings with hospital leaders she heard before it was supposed to made public in the hospital.
It said it sacked Charlotte Monro in July 2013 as this breached confidentiality, as well as finding “undisclosed prison sentences” relating to her protests in the past.
In June 2013, Charlotte Monro warned staff about the threat of jobs cuts which would result from the merging of two stroke wards.
Patrick Brown, a senior occupational therapist at Whipps Cross, also worked as a Unison rep at the hospital, and he gave evidence today.
He said: “It was common process at the time to share documents and it was unclear that we were unable to talk about it with members of staff.
“The further pre-consultation meeting we were told firmly that we should not discuss this with staff, but it was not clear for Charlotte before she was disciplined.”
Jane Cunningham worked as a secretary at Whipps and she said she appreciated Ms Monro warning her of redundancies.
She said: “I was told in February 2013 by Charlotte that one of our team of three secretaries was going to get sacked.
“I was grateful to her for letting me know and glad to be given the information because then I could then do something about it.
“She gave me forms for how to join Unison and it was a great help in the situation.”
A statement prepared for the tribunal by Charlotte Monro said: “I was placed in a difficult and completely unfair position.
“I explained to the panel that as a union rep my duty was to my members and the staff first.
“Union reps discussing up-coming change and consultations during the development stage, before the paper was finalised, is not at all ‘beyond the pale’ activity that the trust held it out to be.
“It was quite common.”
The tribunal is ongoing and a decision will be made behind closed doors this month.