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The BBC's Gary Johnston
"He had always denied the claims"
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Eleanor Hutchison union representative
"It shows total disregard for the judgement of those staff"
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Friday, 26 November, 1999, 12:30 GMT
Giles wins bullying case
Veteran weather presenter Bill Giles Bill Gilles: Heard the news in Geneva

BBC weatherman Bill Giles has won his appeal against a ruling by the Meteorological Office that he had bullied a colleague.

The 60-year-old broadcaster launched the appeal earlier this month, claiming that he was just a "big softie" after a seven-month Met Office inquiry had found him guilty of serious misconduct.

Fellow forecaster Richard Edgar remains on sick leave, months after objecting to Mr Giles's management style.

Mr Giles was telephoned with the news in Geneva, where he is attending the 50th anniversary celebrations of the World Meteorological Organisation, of which he is vice-chairman.

David Luxton, a spokesman for his union, the Institute of Professionals, Managers and Specialists, said: "I have just spoken to Bill and he said he is very relieved at the decision and looking forward to going back to work on Monday. He says the sun is shining in Geneva."

Mr Edgar had complained that Mr Giles, who received an OBE four years ago, and a colleague created a climate of fear at the BBC Weather Centre through criticism and biting memos. Another forecaster, David Lee, is also on sick leave, after making similar allegations.

Weatherman Bill Giles Mr Giles claimed he was just a "big softie"
The Met Office said its chief executive had now cleared Mr Giles of charges which, according to a spokesman, "would have amounted to serious misconduct".

But he added: "In conducting a full and thorough analysis of the case, chief executive Peter Ewins has concluded that there are problems with management of the Met Office's activities at the Weather Centre and that changes are necessary.

"The Met Office is considering with the BBC precisely what changes are required."

He added the problems had arisen because of a rapid increase in the numbers of staff and broadcasts in recent years.

Mr Giles has always contested accusations of behaving like a "head prefect" and bullying his staff.

After launching his appeal, he said: "I have a difficult job in that I had to manage people who have big egos and I am one of them.

"I have a big ego as well and that does make it a little difficult to manage somebody in an office."

Asked if he was a bully, Mr Giles replied: "Not in the least. I am a big softie."

The Met Office said it would be holding meetings with Mr Edgar and Mr Lee to discuss their return to work.

A spokesman said: "Richard and David are both Met Office employees and we have a responsibility to find appropriate employment for them."

Mr Edgar's spokeswoman, Elenor Hutcheson, said: "On behalf of Richard, I am surprised and very disappointed as his union representative in the decision of our chief executive to overturn the decision of his staff.

"It shows total disregard for the judgment of those staff involved in the procedure, who, after a full investigation lasting many months, found Bill Giles guilty of serious misconduct.

"Notwithstanding the result, the chief executive has recognised the existence of serious management problems at the BBC Weather Centre and urgent action must be taken to remedy those deficiencies."

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09 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Giles in weather centre storm

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