A COUNCIL worker was fired from his job in Huddersfield markets – for leaving 10 minutes early to go bowling.
But father-of-one Terry Brook insists he left having worked at least an hour in overtime and with his manager’s permission.
He claims the action was taken by Kirklees Council because of his union activities and is now seeking to put his case to a tribunal, after 12 months of wrangling.
Mr Brook, a market attendant of Booth Bank, Slaithwaite, left work at 1.50pm instead of 2pm to make a bowling match.
He said during the week he totted up at least an hour more than the 37 ½ hours required of him – to compensate for his early departure.
Mr Brook, 30, is a steward for Unison and is convinced that his strong union involvement had a large part to play in his dismissal.
Unison’s regional organiser, Leonie Sharp said: “Mr Brook had been raising issues with managers over various council working practices. His colleagues had been concerned about management and put together an anonymous letter to the chief executive of Kirklees Council.
“As the Unison steward, Terry has to go in to meetings and discuss complaints made with the management.
“The letter that was written was never investigated but Terry soon found himself facing disciplinary action for leaving 10 minutes early. and was eventually dismissed in October
“Two witnesses say that he got permission on the Tuesday from his line manager, Steve Paxman, to leave 10 minutes early on the Saturday.
“Mr Paxman refused to attend the hearing and therefore refused to let the union cross-examine him.
“Mr Brook had worked at least an hour overtime, including half-an-hour from after the market closed on Wednesday, June 30.”
When Mr Brook left 10 minutes early, he had only been back at work five days – following a lengthy suspension for an “altercation with a colleague.”
Mr Brook claims the witness to the altercation was one of the managers he had raised concerns about.
A petition has been circulated around Unison members and the public in support of Mr Brook being reinstated.
Mr Brook, who has a 12-year-old son, has now been unemployed for a year since his dismissal last October.
An appeal was held in April and he will go face-to-face with Kirklees Council at an employment tribunal in November.
He said: “I feel like I have been picked out because I was a union rep and they didn’t like issues being brought up against them.
“It stemmed from me bringing up issues about two managers within the market and they seem to have issues with me.
“It doesn’t feel as though I have had a fair hearing.
“Nothing was said on the day, but the week after the management wanted to have a meeting with me.”
Mr Brook said he does not currently have a job, but has been told by employers that they would reconsider him once he “cleared his name”.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “As this case is going to employment tribunal it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.”