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Monday, 3 December, 2001, 08:08 GMT
Union defends Unison 'bully'
Derek Gregory and ex-secretary Joy Pugh
The Welsh union leader who is being urged to stand down for bullying his secretary has been defended by the leader of his own union.

Derek Gregory, regional secretary of the public workers union Unison, has faced calls to stand down after a judge at Swansea County Court last month awarded his former secretary 90,000 in damages.

The award was made to Joy Pugh, 48, who said she suffered panic attacks and depression as a result of daily harassment and bullying for six years when she worked for Mr Gregory.

Joy Pugh
Joy Pugh said she was bullied for six years

Members of Unison, other trade unions and AMs have urged him to resign and a meeting of the union's Welsh committee in Llandudno last week was called off after some delegates walked out in protest.

Now, however, the Society of Union Employees has come to Mr Gregory's defence saying he had been denied "natural justice" in the court action.

The society said Mr Gregory had not been told anything about the Swansea court case and had not been asked to give evidence or defend himself.

"It is a fundamental principle of British justice that the accused has the right to see all the evidence and is able to assess that evidence by hearing and seeing witness statements and having the ability to cross-examine witnesses," said David Saunders, the Society's national secretary.

We will not allow him to suffer double jeopardy by being placed on trial again

Dave Saunders of the Society of Union Employees

"None of the above was afforded to Mr Gregory."

Mr Saunders said his union had represented Mr Gregory at a Unison internal inquiry into the affair and he was found innocent of all the charges.

"We will not allow him to suffer double jeopardy by being placed on trial again."

Mr Gregory has claimed he is the target of a personal vendetta by some of the union's officials and this view has support from Mr Saunders.

"We deplore the actions of a minority of activists within Unison Wales regions, which is prejudicial to a fair and proper investigation, is based upon ignorance of the facts and which amounts to a vendetta against Mr Gregory," said Mr Saunders.

Last month, Unison headquarters in London announced a full management investigation, headed by two senior officials and aided by an external independent adviser.

Unison's Welsh Regional Secretary Derek Gregory
Derek Gregory: Denied ' natural justice'
The Society of Union Employees is to represent Mr Gregory in the inquiry.

A spokesman said the inquiry would look closely at events leading up to the damages award and "into any wider problems of management within the region which need to be addressed".

Mrs Pugh, who worked at the union's Swansea office for six years, said her self-confidence had been destroyed.

She decided to change careers to become a self-employed aromatherapist.

She told Swansea County Court that she had suffered panic attacks, depression, sleepless nights and loss of libido as a result of her treatment at work.

She claimed that Mr Gregory was persistently rude and shouted at her and also threw files around the office and exaggerated faults in her work.

See also:

13 Sep 99 | The Economy
Unions call for anti-bullying law
04 Sep 01 | Business
How to survive in the workplace
13 Feb 01 | Health
Bullying bosses 'cause sickness'
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