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Exclusive: City scraps political appeals panel for sacked workers

TUC attacks 'bleak day for industrial relations' at council

Written by . Published on May 21st 2013.

Exclusive: City scraps political appeals panel for sacked workers

SACKED Town Hall workers in Liverpool are to be denied the opportunity to plea for their jobs before elected councillors. 

The council’s Appeals Panel, made up of elected councillors from different parties, is set to be scrapped at Wednesday’s annual meeting of Liverpool City Council. 

Instead council employees dismissed or disciplined will face hearings made up of council managers. 

The move has been attacked today by union leaders  representing council employees as the Regional Organiser of the TUC. 

The changes to the council constitution by the Labour dominated council will see the de-establishment of the Appeals Panel. 

The task of deciding appeals will be switched from elected councillors to senior council officers, headed by Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald.


It means for the first time in Liverpool, elected councillors will no longer have any role in personnel matters affecting thousands of council employees.

Today the city council issued a statement to Liverpool Confidential explaining the proposed change. 

A council spokesman said: “This is about working smarter. A number of other local authorities have already moved in this direction and we are catching up. 

“Members have very busy case-loads and it is not a good use of their time sitting in hearings dealing with matters that can be dealt with by managers. 

“The interests of natural justice will continue to be served by ensuring that only managers with appropriate seniority and experience be allowed to sit on the Appeals Panel. Clearly we comply fully with the legislation around appeals which requires elected members to be involved at chief officer level.” 

But Babs Hennessey, who heads the Liverpool branch of the local government union Unison, said: “We are not agreement with this proposal and have made representations and we await the council’s response.  The Joint Shop Stewards Committee at LCC does have considerable concerns. Our view is that there is more of a likelihood of an appeal being seen as open and transparent if it is heard by councillors.  


“The worry is of managers endorsing disciplinary decisions taken by other managers. It is not as though such appeals are being heard week in week out. We also feel a hearing heard by councillors is less likely to go to a time-consuming and expensive industrial tribunal.” 

Lynn CollinsLynn CollinsLynn Collins, Regional Secretary of the North West TUC said: “This arrangement is happening in more local authorities. This is a pity as the existing arrangement in Liverpool is seen as robust as well as fair, open and transparent. I see this as a bleak day for industrial relations at Liverpool City Council. 

“The whole point of councillors hearing appeals is they are not part of the local authority management structure and there is a feeling appeals conducted in this way are fairer for the individual. I also feel hearings heard by managers are far more likely to go to external industrial tribunals.” 

Since the start of 2012 the Appeals Panel has met just six times, and in just one case a sacked employee was reinstated with a final written warning. The dismissals were upheld in the other five appeals. 

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMay 21st 2013.

Isn't this the same Labour Party allied to the TUC, sticking up for the workers. Well done Comrade Joseph.

AnonymousMay 21st 2013.

As a shop steward who has often represented members at hearings there is hardly any sense of fairness and nathural justice in heard by the bosses of the bosses who did the sackings in the first place. A black day this for council staff. Amazed they are letting this happen.

AnonymousMay 21st 2013.

Not intending to be disrespectful to Liverpool Confidential which does an important job in bringing us stuff like this, but why isn't the Oldham Echo screaming about this. Just wondered. I don't read the Liverpool Police Gazette anyway, too much gun crime stuff.

AnonymousMay 22nd 2013.

this is how things would work in the private sector. Why should my taxes support an apeals system thats political when I want my councilors working for me. My guess would be that for reason of political intersts councilors are no more independent than 'Bosses' anyway.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mickeydrippin'May 22nd 2013.

I was thinking along the same lines. Councillors are elected to serve the residents of their respective wards they do not employ the council workers. That is the responsibility of the Chief Executive and his departmental managers.

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