A HOME help who was among 16 women sacked by a Huddersfield care company has lost her unfair dismissal claim.
An employment tribunal in Leeds yesterday rejected Joycelyn Billy’s case against Unique Care.
She and 14 colleagues were fired after a wildcat strike in January in protest at the dismissal of another colleague.
Unique Care chief executive Andrew Johnson said the tribunal result justified the sackings.
He said: “The company has withstood several reports of unsubstantiated claims of unfair dismissal, victimisation, harassment and bullying.
“The tribunal’s ruling completely vindicates the company’s decision to terminate the contracts of the care workers that took part in the strike action, which left vulnerable people without care.”
Unique Care, of St John’s Road, Birkby, is contracted by Kirklees Council to look after 80 people, including 25 residents in sheltered housing in Bradley.
Controversy started in January when home care manager Sonia Senior was sacked for alleged gross misconduct.
Her colleagues downed tools in a show of support, but without an official ballot.
They were immediately fired and their jobs were advertised, sparking a series of vocal protests.
Trade union Unison backed the workers, saying Unique Care’s response to the walkout was “brutal and draconian”.
Four of the workers were thought to have started unfair dismissal claims.
But three of them dropped their cases before reaching a tribunal.
Mr Johnson said Unison had only succeeded in tarnishing its own reputation by supporting the claims.
He added: “The tribunal decided the evidence put by the claimant was unsatisfactory and inconsistent.
“The chairman said some of it beggared belief.
“A lot of the campaign was inappropriate and without foundation and we have to endure a barrage of criticism.
“It’s part of the job, but it has been difficult for our service users and carers, whose understanding of the truth is a lot different from what was being said.”
Mr Johnson said some of the former staff had continued to stage protests outside the Unique Care premises in the last couple of weeks.
But he added: “We want to get on with providing care. As far as we are concerned the matter is closed.”
In a statement, the sacked workers said they had not given up their fight.
It said: “All that the tribunal shows is that the sacking of the workers was legal.
“It does not show it was right.
“We will continue fighting for justice.”