I’m Frodo Baggins. claims sacked union whistleblower
Yorkshire Post – Published Date: 04 November 2010
A WOMAN who claims she was sacked by the GMB union because she was a whistleblower likened her plight to The Lord Of The Rings today as she brought legal action against her former employers. Gillian Martin, 54, even compared GMB general secretary Paul Kenny to Lord Sauron, the dark lord of JRR Tolkien’s famous trilogy.
She alleges she was unfairly treated by senior figures who suspended and then sacked her. She says she was suspended on trumped up charges of bullying and making personal phone calls. In a witness statement presented to the employment tribunal in Leeds, Mrs Martin even compared her position to a female version of the Hobbit Frodo Baggins.
Paul Gilroy, QC, counsel for the GMB Union, put it to her that she thought she was the victim of a conspiracy. He said: “At the beginning of your statement, you draw an analogy with The Lord of the Rings, Paul Kenny is involved within that conspiracy? “I do”, she replied. He added: “You make it absolutely clear that he is the ‘all-seeing’ Lord Sauron bending people to his will? She replied that she didn’t want revenge. “I want justice,” she told the tribunal.
Mrs Martin worked in the education department of the trade union for a number of years before she complained about her treatment. Her lawyer Jessica Learmond-Criqui said she is accusing the union of being a male-only club which suspends women who are accused of wrong doing, but seldom suspend men accused of the same type of allegations.
In papers submitted to the tribunal, she will claim many of the personal calls she is alleged to have made were to the ex-regional secretary of her region who was previously her boss and who was still an employee of the GMB in the head office. She alleges there was a blanket ban on personal calls in the Yorkshire region which breached her human rights. The claimant cared for her epileptic sister and ill mother and a son who was 15 and who was at home on his own. She claims the phone call ban would have an adverse impact on women who care for their families and were more likely to have to call home.
Her lawyer said her client raised grievances with her bosses and “became a thorn in the side of the GMB”.She was finally dismissed in March 2009.
In her witness statement she said: “I hope that by submitting my claims to the tribunal, in the same way as the ring was submitted to the molten lava of Mount Doom, that the eye of Lord Sauron will dissolve and justice will prevail.” Mrs Martin alleges sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal against the GMB trade union.The union denies the allegations and the tribunal continues.