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Councillor claims real reason for sacking was whistle blowing

Created on 10/12/2021 @ 17:34

A Welshpool Town Councillor has claimed that former Town Clerk Robert Robinson wanted his assistant sacked for whistle blowing about a faulty fire alarm system at the Town Hall.

The claim was made by Councillor Phil Pritchard (pictured) who was giving evidence at the fifth day of an employment tribunal brought by ex-Assistant Town Clerk Martin Bond. 

Mr Bond, is claiming that he was dismissed from his job for blowing the whistle on the failed system and exposing a cover-up by his former boss and employer.

He claims Mr Robinson influenced others to have him removed before he was finally sacked by the town council. 

Mr Robinson and the town council claim Mr Bond was dismissed during his extended probationary period due to his deteriorating relationship with members of staff.

“I believe Mr Bond’s dismissal was false,” said Councillor Pritchard. “Mr Robinson knew about the fire alarm situation for a long time and the problems were because Mr Bond kept attacking Mr Robinson about it.

“If we hadn’t had the issues with fire alarm system I believe Mr Bond would still be employed as I have seen no evidence about the alleged complaints.

“It’s my opinion that Mr Kaye dismissed Mr Bond because of complaints from staff and complaints about the fire alarm.”

Councillor Pritchard agreed though that he had been on the panel which dismissed Mr Bond when it was pointed out to Mr Bond that he had not improved his relationships with other staff following a review meeting.

The councillor said he had been asked to attend a meeting with Mr Bond, Mr Robinson and the Mayor Councillor Steve Kaye, as a witness but had not been aware that the meeting was to dismiss Mr Bond until it happened.

Councillor Pritchard told the hearing he had approached the Mayor immediately after the sacking meeting. “I told Steve Kaye that what he had done was totally wrong in law. I don’t think the Mayor had the authority to sack Mr Bond, I would have expected him to go back to the review board.”

He said he had been surprised to see that Mr Bond’s P45 and a settlement cheque had been prepared by Mr Robinson ahead of the meeting.

Councillor Pritchard’s statement to the tribunal was challenged during a lengthy cross-examination by the Town Council’s barrister Mr Michael Barrow.

The councillor confirmed that his statement had been typed up by Mr Bond after the two had met but Mr Barrow pointed out there was nothing in it to say the reason for the dismissal was over the fire alarm system.

“Your recollection of the meeting (dismissal meeting) is not quite as encyclopaedic as you would like us to believe. I put it to you that you have made this up,” he said.

Councillor Pritchard responded: “I am under oath and take great exception to that.”

Tony Thorndike, representing Mr Robinson, also questioned the content of Councillor Pritchard’s statement. “May I remind you that the press and the public are watching and will draw their own conclusions,” he said before Judge Horfield intervened and adjourned the hearing.

The hearing will reconvene On February 10, 2022 and is listed for two days.

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