‘We are writing to you in response to the mistreatment of Brendan OgleYou must be aware of the injustice being inflicted on Mr Ogle… we expect that any exposure of abuse and bullying in the workplace within Unite must be of a high priority to you as General Secretary’
The Unite union in Ireland has been been outraged by what Brendan Ogle‘s wife Mandy La Combre says is a political attack from London on her husband, the country’s most senior Unite officer, who has just returned to work after intensive cancer treatment. Ms La Combre had posted to her Facebook page about the ‘disgusting’ attempt to sideline Ogle and demote him to a job to an office some 100 miles from his home.
Unite continues to deny her allegations, but the country’s Unite branches have begun to organise in solidarity with their representative. The union’s entire Irish hospitality and tourism section has already written to the union demanding answers and a U-turn, while the 1/87 branch sent in a similar condemnation and demand for action.
And last night, Unite’s Community section in Ireland passed its own motion of support and has written to Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, saying that she must be aware of what is going on, demanding action and a meeting in person with Ms Graham when she attends the union’s Irish policy conference in Dublin next week – and reminding her that the union’s treatment of its workers must be as good as it would expect of any other employer:
14th September 2022
Dear Ms Graham,
We, the officers of Tom Stokes Right 2 Change Branch met on Wednesday 14th September where we passed a motion of support and solidarity to our colleague Mr Brendan Ogle.
We are writing to you in response to the mistreatment of Unite the union worker and senior officer Brendan Ogle. You must be aware of the injustice being inflicted on Mr Ogle since his to return to work after his recent serious illness by his employer UNITE the union, of which you are the General Secretary.
We are sure you will agree every worker who is out of work on sick leave must expect upon re-entering the workplace to return to the position they held prior to illness. This is the standard to which we hold all employers in the Industrial and Commercial sector. We expect the same standards in the Union sector. We are very disappointed to learn that this appears not to be case in Unite’s Irish offices where Mr Ogle appears to be treated in a manner contrary to expected work standards, where exclusion and removal of normal duties have been actioned, even to the point of Mr Ogle being removed from one of international recognition for his role in the Right2Water campaign.
We were encouraged by your commitment to building union power from the bottom up when you were elected as General Secretary in August 2021. We strongly feel that this attempt to isolate Mr Ogle runs counter to any genuine effort to build grassroots power. Within the Rep. of Ireland Mr Ogle’s leadership has been instrumental in worker and movement victories for many years based on the same bottom-up approach you proclaim to advocate.
We are aware that you will be attending and addressing the Irish Policy Conference next Tuesday 20th September and we are seeking a meeting with you to discuss our concerns.
Can you inform us of your availability to meet?
We trust you will follow up on this injustice displayed in Unite against Mr Ogle. It is incumbent on you as the General Secretary of Unite to ensure that all employees within your organisation are treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, we expect that any exposure of abuse and bullying in the workplace within Unite must be of a high priority to you as General Secretary.
Vivienne Farrell – Branch Secretary
Mandy La Combre – Chairperson
Timothy J Hogan – Equalities Officer
Damian Farrell – Branch Treasurer
Hilary Darcy – Vice Chairperson
Mr Ogle declined to comment.
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