Whistleblower for unsafe bridges wins tribunal against Mouchel

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GEORGE Harlock has won his industrial tribunal for wrongful dismissal after blowing the whistle on safety issues regarding bridges in Milton Keynes.

Mr Harlock, from Woolstone, was fired from his job as Bridge Inspector for Mouchel in April 2011 for raising concerns about the safety of bridge maintenance being carried out, believing that his findings were being ignored. It was his job to compile reports on the bridges of Milton Keynes, but he became disillusioned when nothing seemed to come of his reports, despite some frightening findings.

He went directly to Milton Keynes Council to alert them to his reports and was subsequently dismissed.

But after a long and drawn out industrial tribunal, evidence found that:

1. The dismissal was “automatically unfair” and was made because Mr Harlock repeatedly blew the whistle on safety and malpractice issues and not through a real redundancy

2. The dismissal was “ordinarily unfair” as there was not a true redundancy and proper consultation procedures were not followed. In particular the judge said the process was “a sham”

3. That Mr Harlock suffered a detriment of stress and mental illness caused by his concerns being ignored

4. Mr Harlock did not succeed on the detriments of denial of training and deliberate increases in workload upon return to work

Mr Harlock, whose story was covered by the BBC’s Inside Out programme which aired in August last year, must now wait for another hearing to find out his compensation payment.

“It’s another hurdle to surmount,” he said.

“By this time it will be about two years since my dismissal.

“But I won on three of the five counts, and it’s the three I was really pushing for, the three big ones.

“I haven’t had an apology from Mouchel and I don’t expect I will directly. It’ll probably come through their lawyers if it does come.”

When asked by the Citizen, Mouchel declined to comment.

RELATED LINKS: Milton Keynes bridges: Concern over state of repair via BBC