Branch Secretary : info@housingworkers.org.uk
  

Suspended for 6 months for eating a biscuit on Google meet?

St Mungo’s rep remains suspended

 

Unite members in St Mungos have repeatedly expressed concern at bullying by senior management and victimisation of Unite reps and staff who raise critical concerns.

 

12 weeks solidarity strike

 

Vicko Plevnik, Unite Rep and 20 year St.
Mungo’s employee in Property Services, has
been suspended for alleged gross misconduct
for the last 6 months. His entire team took
strike action for 12 weeks in solidarity with him.

 

Unite rep accused of eating a biscuit


Back in August 2020, Vicko was one of three
Reactive Repairs workers to raise a grievance
against their senior management for bullying
behaviour. This treatment had been affecting
the whole team for months, until everyone lost
hope it would be resolved informally. Little did
they know it would be denied entirely!

 

No witnesses interviewed

 
Vicko’s grievance put forward 12 witnesses to
the belittling, undermining treatment to which
his team was continuously subjected. During
the investigation, not one of these witnesses
were interviewed, and the grievance was not
upheld. And the other two workers who raised
grievances? One’s contract was not extended,
and the other was made redundant after 25
years of service. Maybe Vicko got off lightly!


Influencing witnesses


Vicko was accused of causing his managers
“psychological distress” by raising a grievance.
His suspension apparently prevents him from
“influencing” witnesses – the very witnesses
not interviewed during the initial investigation.
But since his suspension, the very manager
Vicko raised his grievance against has been
trying to contact some of these witnesses
directly.

 

Review conceded

 

Something is deeply wrong with
management’s handling of formal processes.
So Vicko’s entire team came out in support.
The striker’s demands were straight-forward:
lift Vicko’s suspension and conduct an
independent review of the grievance matter.
Mungo’s offered up an external review of the
grievance policy in general, but only conceded
a review of the justness of their handling of
Vicko’s case in the very last week of strike
action – after pressure from councillors.

 

Worked together


Unite were recently informed that Ria Bailes
has been appointed to lead this ‘independent’
review. Ria served as Steve Douglas’ HR
Manager while he was at One Housing; the
two have worked together for seven years. We
have real concerns about the validity and
fairness of this review.

 

Biscuit eating


Vicko has reasonable fears of dismissal
following the conclusion of this ‘independent’
review and his formal disciplinary hearing. And
for what? The 35-page investigation report
outlining his alleged misconduct includes a
particularly egregious Google Meets incident:
where he muted himself after answering a
question, possibly while eating a biscuit. The
audacity!

 

Vicko’s Case Timeline:


17 August 2020 – grievance raised


2 February 2021 – negative
grievance outcome received


16 February 2021 – disciplinary
proceedings against Vicko initiated
– grievance outcome appealed –
grievance raised against
investigating manager for not
contacting any witnesses


23 February 2021 – Unite ballots
Property Services team. See here for more.


7 April 2021 – Unite confirms strike
mandate – Vicko suspended. See here for more.


22 April 2021 – strike begins. See here for more.


27 May 2021 – disciplinary
investigation meeting with Vicko


11 June 2021 – grievance appeal
and grievance against investigating
manager hearings


14 July 2021 – management
concedes independent review will
look at case handling – strikers vote
to end strike. See here for more.


13 August 2021 – 35 page
disciplinary investigation report
received, no witnesses interviewed


26 August 2021 – grievance appeal
outcome – all grounds rejected

 

22 September 2021

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