Archive : Robinson claim to have halted BL strikes

From Our Correspondent Birmingham

Mr Derek Robinson, the shop steward convener dismissed by British Leyland as a threat to industrial peace told a Birmingham industrial tribunal yesterday that “on countless occasions” BL shop stewards and workers had wanted to walk out “and I have played a part in avoiding this “. He added:

“It was my job to make sure that agreements were carried out both by the management and men. I always adopted the attitude that agreements should he honoured, whether they are good or bad.”

Mr Robinson was dismissed last November for distributing leaflets attacking plans to save BL after the employees had voted in favour of them. He claims his dismissal was unfair. He told the tribunal that the shock of dismissal gave him such depressions that he became afraid of addiction to tranquillizers prescribed by his doctor. He also had nightmares. The tribunal has yet to agree to hear his case which it says was presented outside the three- month time limit for such claims.

Mr Robinson has argued that his dismissal date was February 8 last, when the company rejected the committee of inquiry decision. But yesterday, Mr David Turner-Samuels QC, appearing for Mr Robinson, said that date was based on a misunderstanding over a letter from Sir John Boyd, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, who wrote of Mr Robinson’s proposed dismissal . Mr Turner-Samuels said Mr Robinson now accepted that his dismissal took place on November 19 last, when the company first told him he was dismissed.

BL has said it will call no witnesses. The tribunal adjourned until next Monday to allow both sides to sum up and for Mr Robinson to call medical evidence. He claims he was a sick man incapable of making proper decisions.

Keith Adams
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