TWO WORKERS UNFAIRLY SACKED BY TRADES UNION CONGRESS (TUC)

by DARREN and GREG

TWO WORKERS UNFAIRLY SACKED BY TRADES UNION CONGRESS (TUC)

by DARREN and GREG
DARREN and GREG
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DARREN and GREG worked at the TUC and are well-known, hardworking committed, trade unionist.
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Latest: Feb. 27, 2024

Join us TODAY for Worker's fight for justice against TUC starts in the ET

Dear Supporters 

Tues 27 February to Tues 5 March Employment Tribunal

Darren Lewis & Grzegorz Lepiarz v (TUC) Trade Union Congress

Case Nos: 2200230/2023 and 220228/2023

Tuesday 27 Feb - Day 1

Cr…

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CHANGING THE WORLD OF WORK FOR GOOD OR

DESTROYING LIVES OF HARDWORKING TUC STAFF FOR GOOD?

Justice for Darren and Greg. A campaign to help fund the legal case of 2 trade unionists who were unfairly dismissed by Trades Union Congress (TUC), an historic institution recognised for fighting to protect all workers' rights.  

Darren and Greg were dismissed without fairness and impartiality with the TUC failing to follow ACAS procedures and trade union values.

EVENTS INFLUENCING DISMISSALS 

Darren and Greg voiced staff concerns about bullying, harassment and racism at the TUC: continuously reported by 35% of staff members in TUC's own annual staff survey.

They opposed knee jerk staff redundancies during a phase of the Covid 19 pandemic when the TUC were demanding that Government and other employers introduced furlough/job retention scheme protections for workers.

On the 1December 2021, Darren and Greg were suspended. Ironically, 5 days prior to their suspensions Greg had been welcomed to a one-to-one meeting with the TUC General Secretary to share a number of ongoing concerns raised by TUC staff. Those concerns included:

  • Staff being forced to return to work or risk redundancies;
  • Matters of Health and Safety --- demands that staff return to the workplace, following Covid, without due regard to their safety and wellbeing;
  • Bullying and harassment through a culture of 'fear' orchestrated by TUC senior management;
  • Intersections of race, gender and class as barriers to personal and professional development within the TUC. It is, therefore, significant that Darren and Greg are both members of racially marginalised groups.

SUSPENSION THROUGH DISMISSAL:

On 1 December 2021 Darren and Greg are suspended without warning; never before seen at the TUC!

This action was deemed unreasonable by all union reps and never seen before at the TUC.

Due to the seriousness of the allegations made by the TUC --- the result of a complaint brought by a member of Newham Trades Council --- Darren and Greg request that the matter is referred to the police. Furthermore, in order to ensure adherence to a fair, transparent, and impartial process, they also ask for an immediate escalation to the TUC General Secretary. These requests were denied.

Newham Trades Union Council refuse to liaise with Darren and Greg’s union rep to validate accusations.

Darren and Greg are prohibited from contacting Newham Trades Union Council in an attempt to seek evidence of members' ratification of the accusations made against them. This information was important because the TUC were requesting Darren and Greg provide evidence of innocence - despite having no access to work email archives or workplace to retrieve key information.

Greg is escorted from the building by management. Darren is remotely kicked offline before the end of his work shift.

In addition, Darren and Greg are barred from contacting TUC colleagues or, other potential sources of support; at the same time, being forbidden from contacting solicitors.

SILENCING SEEMS TO BE A KEY FACTOR IN THE DECISION TO SUSPEND

TUC deem suspension an informal meeting despite taking formal actions against Darren and Greg.

Several union reps as well as TUC workplace reps’ body confirm Darren and Greg are denied the right to fairness and impartiality.

WHY ARE THEY SUSPENDED?

Darren and Greg voluntarily assist Newham Trades Union Council for 21 months with various tasks and supported them financially. 

Newham Trades Union Council on numerous occasions expressed their enormous gratitude and thankfulness to Darren and Greg. 

For 21 months at our own expense, Darren and Greg pay over £800 to support Newham Trades Union Council. Consistent with all actions throughout the span of a 21-year career with the TUC, this was done in support of a commitment to communities, and accrued no personal or financial gain.

TUC suspended and subsequently dismissed Darren and Greg calling their voluntarily support to Newham Trades Union Council a service with personal gain; accusing them of dishonesty.

TUC informed Darren and Greg that official complaint was lodged by Newham Trades Union Council but refuse to provide any evidence and made sure that Newham Trades Union Council doesn't cooperate with Darren and Greg. 

TUC claim existence of a corroborating statement, however this is suppressed. Contrary to what may be expected the statement has not been shared with Daren, Greg, or their Union Reps, thus denying fair process.

Newham Trades Council reveals being contacted by TUC and instructed not to provide Darren, Greg or, their Reps with any evidence which may compromise TUC case.

WHO ARE THEY?

DARREN

Worked at the TUC over 21 years, very well-known, hardworking and committed trade unionists even prior joining TUC.

Almost non-existing sickness/absence record over 21 years prior to suspension.

No written warnings throughout the period of employment

Voluntary non-profit time donated to the trade union movement and community initiatives over 21 years including:

  • (2006) Ipswich May Day Festival (£800 personal spend)
  • (2007) £2,500 from Greater London Authority, all donated to the TUC
  • (2020) May Day Film Screening Fundraiser with Morning Star Newspaper - £290 raised for Domestic Workers during COVID-19 pandemic emergence

The Trade Union Movement, campaign organisations, Trade Union Councils, and various community initiatives continue to receive voluntary assistance

GREG

Worked at the TUC over 4 years, very well-known, hardworking and committed trade unionist even prior joining TUC.

Almost non-existing sickness/absence record over 4 years prior to suspension.

No written or verbal warnings throughout the period of employment.

On the frontline during action to save jobs of colleagues under the threat of being made redundant from TUC, in the middle of Covid 19 pandemic.

Voluntarily producing photographs of iconic members inside and outside the Trade Union Movement as way of raising awareness of the Movement's role in promoting social justice.

Community advocacy which iextends worldwide, in support of communities in need. Equally ready to offer time and unstinting support to anyone within the Movement.

Trade Union Movement; campaigning organisations; Trade Union Council, and community initiatives continue to receive voluntary assistance.

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING 

Suspension - through - dismissal has had a deleterious impact on the health and wellbeing of both Darren,  and Greg.

TUC promise that suspension should last 10-days, yet, the processes and procedures dragged on for more than 6 months.

Staff Welfare, GP, Counsellors and Mental Health Support Groups are shocked by the treatment Darren and Greg received.

TUC, deploying what has been experienced by Darren and Greg as "intimidatory tactics" throughout the process, has shown little or no regard for duty of care.  But way of illustration, couriers arriving after 8:00 pm to deliver a letter summoning an appointment with Occupational Health; giving less than  13 hours notice; causing severe anxiety and distress.

Contrary to common practice Darren and Greg (both racially marginalised) are put on half pay prior 6 months and are forbidden contractual rights to appeal. There is a blatant abuse of power and bias by TUC.

BIAS TUC DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS

TUC officers who suspended Darren and Greg comprise the panel dismissing them.

TUC Solicitors are approached prior to appeal hearing for an advice on likelihood of winning this in the Employment Tribunal which contradicts ACAS guidelines. The same officer then hears the appeal - making him judge, jury and executioner.

Darren and Greg, as racially minoritised workers, appear to have received less than favourable treatment.

CONCLUSION 

Darren and Greg call on the support of trade unionists and public to hold the TUC to account and obtain justice.

Due to stigma of the case Darren and Greg are still unemployed and struggling to support themselves.

Please support fairness and impartiality for all workers at every workplaces.

The Employment Tribunal Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday 27 February to Tuesday 5 March 2024 in London Central Employment Tribunal.

All supporters will have access to public hearing as well as frequent updates.

Outcome of the hearing will be available in the public domain.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact:

[email protected]



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Update 13

DARREN and GREG

Feb. 27, 2024

Join us TODAY for Worker's fight for justice against TUC starts in the ET

Dear Supporters 

Tues 27 February to Tues 5 March Employment Tribunal

Darren Lewis & Grzegorz Lepiarz v (TUC) Trade Union Congress

Case Nos: 2200230/2023 and 220228/2023

Tuesday 27 Feb - Day 1

Cross examination of: Jenny Dixon - TUC Personnel & Training Manager

 Public gallery joining details:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XZ6NWgDzo-kbE0E1b5Te2nJBQjsyxAT-/view?usp=sharing

 Any problems please contact

[email protected]

 On Tuesday 27 February 2024, the Employment Tribunal will begin wading through a catalogue of errors to ascertain if they agree with our belief - that after 25 years of collective service, we were unfairly and unlawfully dismissed by Trades Union Congress (TUC) in August 2022 after 9 months of torturing suspension. 

 We were denied access to vital evidence, key witnesses and documents.

 We have donated hundreds of pounds and incalculable personal time to deserving causes and yet we were dismissed based on what we believe to be TUC manufactured allegations against us which led to our dismissals for supposed gross misconduct.

We are jointly suing TUC for unfair and wrongful dismissal. We believe that even if there was a genuine case against us, the sanction is disproportionate. Additionally Darren is suing TUC for race discrimination, breach of contract and holiday pay but we believe this case is beyond just those charges. Hopefully it will show root problems inside the TUC which led us to this moment.

Our fight at the Employment Tribunal is for anyone who believes in trade unions and expects to be represented with fairness by their union. If members cannot reasonably rely on our trade unions in our hour of greatest need, what is the point of being fee-paying members - especially at the home of the trade union movement (TUC)?

We are confident that the Employment Tribunal will make a right judgement, but it is vital that you join us for the open to public hearing as our fight is your fight!

Support us at: 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/tuc-workers-unfairly-sacked/

“If you fight you won't always win. But if you don't fight you will always lose”

Bob Crowe

Darren and Greg

 

Update 12

DARREN and GREG

Feb. 17, 2024

PRESS RELEASE

Workers fighting for justice take TUC to Employment Tribunal!

On Tuesday 27 February 2024, the Employment Tribunal will begin wading through a catalogue of errors to ascertain if they agree with our belief - that after 25 years of collective service, we were unfairly and unlawfully dismissed by Trades Union Congress (TUC) in August 2022 after 9 months of torturing suspension. 

We were denied access to vital evidence, key witnesses and documents.

We have donated hundreds of pounds and incalculable personal time to deserving causes and yet we were dismissed based on what we believe to be TUC manufactured allegations against us which led to our dismissals for supposed gross misconduct.

We are jointly suing TUC for unfair and wrongful dismissal. We believe that even if there was a genuine case against us, the sanction is disproportionate. Additionally Darren is suing TUC for race discrimination, breach of contract and holiday pay but we believe this case is beyond just those charges. Hopefully it will show root problems inside the TUC which led us to this moment.

Our fight at the Employment Tribunal is for anyone who believes in trade unions and expects to be represented with fairness by their union. If members cannot reasonably rely on our trade unions in our hour of greatest need, what is the point of being fee-paying members - especially at the home of the trade union movement (TUC)?

We are confident that the Employment Tribunal will make a right judgement, but it is vital that you join us for the open to public hearing as our fight is your fight!

Support us at: 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/tuc-workers-unfairly-sacked/

“If you fight you won't always win. But if you don't fight you will always lose”

Bob Crowe

 Darren Lewis & Grzegorz Lepiarz v Trade Union Congress (TUC)

Case Nos: 2200230/2023 and 220228/2023

27 February 2024 - 5 March 2024

PRESS: For any media enquiries please contact us or our legal representative

Kilgannon & Partners LLP [email protected]

Darren and Greg

Update 11

DARREN and GREG

Jan. 30, 2024

Thank you community!

Update 10

DARREN and GREG

Jan. 26, 2024

Then they came for Trade Unionist (like Darren and Greg)

Update 9

DARREN and GREG

Dec. 22, 2023

This is just the beginning.

“… Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a trade unionist…”   

[Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)]

Prior to the start of this nightmare, never - in our wildest dreams - did we ever imagine that ‘they’ would turn out to be the nation’s supposed arbitrator of workers’ rights. It is inconceivable that the bastion of the trade union movement is trying to criminalise two trade unionists for being trade unionists!  

It is vital that everyone understands that this fight is not ours – it is the fight for workers far and wide. Darren and Greg today – but if justice isn’t served to force the TUC and every other employer to adhere to fair and impartial procedures and ACAS guidelines – who will it be tomorrow? 

At the expense of their own integrity, TUC are prioritising the protection of their brand over justice and rights for workers. With the cost-of-living crisis forcing comrades the length and breadth of the UK into industrial action, and a general election looming, workers’ rights cannot be compromised!

So, we thank John McDonnell MP for his unwavering support with our Crowdfunding campaign, and sincerely hope that it paves the way to justice for us and all who may need it in future. 

This is just the beginning.  

Please share this as widely as possible to assist with making the TUC General Secretary accountable before any more workers' lives are ruined.  

Join us on 10th January 2024 at the Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LS to protest against unfair treatment by the TUC. 

Update 8

DARREN and GREG

Nov. 29, 2023

TWO TRADE UNION MEMBERS BANNED FROM ALL (TUC) PROPERTIES AND EVENTS

TWO TRADE UNION MEMBERS BANNED FROM ALL (TUC) TRADES UNION CONGRESS PROPERTIES AND EVENTS 

On 31 October 2023, Darren and Greg, were banned from the home of trade union movement (Congress House), and all TUC properties, as well as TUC associated events. 

Darren and Greg committed 25 years combined as TUC employees, without any verbal or written warnings throughout their careers.

On 17 August 2022, they were dismissed by the TUC for gross misconduct namely: 

  • Brokering and facilitating services to Newham Trades Council for financial gain of £320 giving the false impression that the services were being offered by the TUC to trades councils. 
  • Using TUC email accounts to provide services which led Newham Trades Council to believe that they were communicating with them as TUC employees, when they were acting for their own benefit.

TUC’s position is Darren and Greg will no longer be permitted to access any TUC premises or any events at alternative premises that have been exclusively organised by or for the TUC as Darren and Greg seriously abused their positions at the TUC.

With a strong community and trade union movement record of non-profit activity, as well as no event disruptions for 25 years, Darren and Greg strongly oppose TUC banning order, and are currently suing TUC for the following:  

  • Race discrimination
  • Unfair dismissal 
  • Holiday pay 

Their Employment Tribunal hearing is scheduled for 27 February to 5 March 2024.

Court proceedings are open to the general public and all trade unionists.

Update 7

DARREN and GREG

Nov. 7, 2023

Completely ignored by TUC General Council and TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce

Dear supporters, 

We promise to keep you updated with our movements on the Crowdfund page. 

Thank you for all your messages and continuous legal crowdfund support 

(very much appreciated).

Protecting workers rights for all is always a must. No worker should be denied the rights to fair and impartial treatment within the workplace.        

Due to ongoing questions received we feel obliged to update you on our case and crowdfunding  actions to garner necessary support from those within or outside the trade union movement believing in equality, as well as fighting racism and injustice.  .

We have approached over 2,000 sources over 2 years seeking protection and support, starting from ground zero being advocates such as  the TUC General Council. TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce, Plus recently the TUC National Race Relations Committee. Despite our numerous attempts we have been completely ignored. 

Please see below  some of our attempts:

TUC General Council, 56 members. 7.12.22. “Disproportionate Unfairness” NO RESPONSE

TUC General Council, 56 members. 23.1.23. “Grzegorz Lepiarz and Darren Lewis - Employment Tribunal Claims” NO RESPONSE

TUC General Council, 56 members. 25.7.23 “TUC at the Employment Tribunal” NO RESPONSE

TUC General Council, 56 members. 26.10.23 “Black History Month - Education - Equality “ NO RESPONSE

TUC General Council, 56 members. 2.11.23 “TUC Meeting Code of Conduct“ NO RESPONSE

TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce, 24 members. 27.7.23 “TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce” NO RESPONSE

TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce, 24 members. 6.10.23 “TUC Pledges endorsed by the TUC ARTF” NO RESPONSE

TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce, 87 members (including TUC General Council) 6.10.23 “True equality or gimmicks?” NO RESPONSE

For your information:

TUC General Council (GC)

TUC policy is set by Congress annually, but between Congresses this responsibility lies with the TUC General Council. Its 56 members meet every two months at TUC Congress House to oversee the TUC's work programme and sanction new policy initiatives.

TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce (ARTF)

Formed 2020, ARTF is leading the trade union movement’s renewed campaign against racism at work. Its remit to engage with Black workers across the UK to hear about their experiences. And it will produce recommendations on tackling structural racism in the UK, in workplaces and in unions themselves. 



Update 6

DARREN and GREG

Sept. 16, 2023

Letter of support

Update 5

DARREN and GREG

Sept. 2, 2023

THANK YOU - please support/share - equality for all workplaces

Update 4

DARREN and GREG

Aug. 22, 2023

OPEN LETTER - Justice for Darren and Greg - Unite the Union members

If you work for Trades Union Congress (TUC), or union in a paid or voluntary capacity  and your union fails to represent you properly, challenge it  

OPEN LETTER to: Sharon Graham , General Secretary (unite the Union) 


Dear Sharon Graham,  

Re: Justice for Darren and Greg - Unite the Union members 

By now, you will have been advised, through various sources, that we were dismissed from the TUC under what can mutually be agreed as irregular circumstances. 

We shared with you, in your capacities of both Unite the Union General Secretary as well as a member of TUC General Council, details of our case but incredulously have yet to receive any sort of response from you.  

Sub-unsatisfactory support from Unite the Union 

We are also writing to you now to address another; some might say more pressing; element of our experience and egregiousness. As fully paid-up members of Unite the Union at the time of our dismissal, the level of support we received was sub-unsatisfactory!. 

That is to say, even less than unsatisfactory! So astounded were we by Unite the Union’s handling of our case at local and regional level, that we were unable to engage in addressing it at that time, for fear of exhausting the clock on our Employment Tribunal (ET) case.

Underhanded ploy of Unite the Union? 

You might note General Secretary, that it has been suggested by several comrades that exhausting the ET clock appears to have been the underhanded ploy of Unite the Union.

When we were suspended on 1 December 2021, in our naïve innocence, we were confident that there had been some easily explainable misunderstanding which would come to light through the earliest part of the employer’s investigation. Our misplaced confidence was based on the fact that our local representatives act from a Joint Negotiating Consultative Committee and were not acting as sole entities.

Our local representatives unanimously agreed that we had not been given access to a fair and impartial process and should things go against us, at the very worst should expect a written warning. Our local representative even went so far as to write to TUC’s General Secretary to explain that:

a. We had not been afforded access to a fair and impartial process

b. They could see no provision in TUC’s policy for them to remove sick pay – particularly after TUC procrastinated with the completion of the internal investigation (it was completed some 7 months after their own recommended 10 days!) 

They also recommended that we raise a grievance. They would later admit that we stood no chance of winning the grievance or appeal and had submitted them purely for procedural purposes.

No contact from Unite the Union for more than 100 days

Additionally, we also felt repeatedly stonewalled by our own Unite the Union representatives when we tried unsuccessfully to make contact with one very senior local representative, where Grzegorz was not able to establish contact him for more than 100 days.

The conditions of our suspension stipulated that we were to have no access to the employer’s internet/intranet system or any contact with work colleagues. It was only at the appeal stage of the dismissal process that Grezg and I realised we had been living the same experience.

When the realisation hit that we were not going to receive the representation we were expecting from our local representatives, we referred the matter to the regional office.

We were astounded when through non-verbal communication, the FTO implied her discontent at our decision to formally complain about the conduct of our local representative. After we lost the appeal, we asked the allocated Regional Full-time Officer (FTO) to advise us on the procedure for referring the case to the Employment Tribunal. We remain unsure why the FTO didn’t make a simple phone call when we asked for the information.

Questionable claims by Unite the Union Full Time Officer 

Instead, the FTO informed us that they would have to do some research to find out what the procedure was. We have since discovered that as ET referrals are likely to be one of the essential parts of the job of a Regional FTO, the response was questionable and highly irregular. Particularly as they caused us great anxiety by failing to get back to us with a response for some time – while the ET deadline was fast approaching. 

When the FTO referred our case to the Union’s lawyers, we realised that after collective membership of more than 30 years, we couldn’t rely on the support of Unite the Union for any genuine representation at all.

Scantily written submission by Unite the Union FTO 

We were shocked by the fact that the lawyers felt able to come to any overall assessment at all based on the scantily written submission provided by Unite the Union’s FTO. Furthermore, the derisory and dismissive tone deployed when our case was apparently assessed beggars belief.

“To me the only real evidence that would have exonerated him [Darren} is if he can show he was also duped by the colleague’ misrepresentation [Grezg] but currently that doesn’t appear to be the position therefore do not refer.” Unite the Union legal advice – 9 November 2022

We remain unsure if this slapdash assessment was from Thompson’s, Slater & Gordon, Russell Jones and Walker or some other entity purporting to be practitioners of employment law. We invite confirmation through this open letter. 

We are guilty of nothing more than having and deploying trade union values both within and without the workplace.

Misguided after decades of trade union subscriptions 

We completely refute the allegations made by the respondent and are legally challenging their conduct; not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of all those who will come after us. Those who might be of the misguided belief that after decades of trade union membership and subscriptions in excess of thousands GBP (£), they can rely on the support of Unite the Union, GMB or any of the other trade unions at the Congress House Joint Negotiation Consultative Committee table.

Requesting reimbursement of our subscriptions

We are innocent of any intentional wrongdoing and are still reeling in shock at the highly unethical experience we have had throughout the process (or lack of). But if this is our experience in the purported UK home of workers’ rights, we shudder to think what level of support you provide for general lay members – who are without access to the advice and support we have had to seek from elsewhere.

As we have had to seek independent legal assistance, we are therefore writing to you now requesting a 95% reimbursement of our paid subscriptions and hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards 

Darren Lewis and Grzegorz Lepiarz

#Unite_the_Union 

#GMB_union 

#JNCC 

#stonewalled_by_union 

#Employment_Tribunal 

#Thompsons_solicitors 

#Slater_&_Gordon 

#Russell_Jones_&_Walker 

#Reimburse_subscriptions

Update 3

DARREN and GREG

Aug. 9, 2023

Helping Trade Union is a crime (according to the TUC)

Example of volunteer work done for Newham Trades Union Council (as advertised on their facebook). Our volunteer support for the trade union was a reason for our unfair dismissal by the TUC. Please support our campaign.


 


Update 2

DARREN and GREG

Aug. 7, 2023

INEQUALITY

Update 1

DARREN and GREG

July 27, 2023

Twitter and Facebook

Dear supporters,

Thank you for overwhelming support since we started the campaign 48 hours ago.

Please note that we are now on Facebook and Twitter where we will also keep updating supporters.

Twitter

Facebook

Please support fairness and impartiality for all workers at every workplace.

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