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3000 emails in support of health & safety rep sacked in ‘fire alarm’ row

12 May 2016

The boss of a Birmingham drug and alcohol charity, which sacked health and safety rep Alison Morris for raising concerns with her manager over fire safety, has received nearly 3,000 emails calling for her reinstatement.

David Biddle, the chief executive of CGL, the city’s leading substance abuse charity, has received thousands of emails supporting Alison Morris’ reinstatement.

Ms Morris was sacked last month after she pointed out the fire alarms at the charity’s Scala House office in January were not working.

Unite, the country’s largest union which is the sole recognised union at CGL, said that the 300-strong workforce in Birmingham backed Alison Morris’ immediate reinstatement – and if this did not happen, an industrial action ballot was very much on the cards.

Unite activists, colleagues, service users and members of the public have been asked to demonstrate in support of Alison for a second time at Holloway Circus, Birmingham B1 1 BT on Friday (13 May) between 12:30–14:00. The first demo was on 28 April.

Her internal CGL appeal will be heard on Monday (16 May). She is a drugs referral team leader with a 14-year exemplary record working for the NHS and the charity.

Unite said that Alison had reported that a fire officer who inspected the building had told her the building may be closed if the fire alarm problem was not sorted the following day. Senior management argued she said it would close – and this, according to the bosses, constituted as allegedly intentionally misleading management. Unite strongly disputes what the management claimed Alison said.

Unite regional officer Caren Evans 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.

“Unite has lodged an appeal against the sacking, to be heard on Monday, and also an unfair dismissal claim. The union and her work colleagues stand four-square behind her.

“Her workmates know that without Alison’s actions in raising concerns that if a fire broke 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.

“Further evidence has emerged in a statement from a person who was present in the building, that shows the management of CGL was made aware of the failure of the fire alarm on 25 January, some 24 hours before they started to take any action on the situation, and yet still did not engage with the statutory health and safety reps.”