Analysis Breaking

Irish union legend Ogle starts legal case over Unite abuse after cancer recovery

Brendan Ogle takes union to Workplace Relations Commission for victimisation after illness and treatment after making protected disclosure

Irish union legend Brendan Ogle has begun tribunal action against Unite over its ‘disgusting’ abuse following his recovery from advanced cancer – and for alleged ‘mistreatment and penalisation’ after he made a whistleblower’s ‘protected disclosure’ about the union’s adherence to covid protocols at the height of the pandemic.

The union’s sidelining of Ogle on his return to work triggered outrage among grassroots members, politicians and community groups – anger so serious that an entire sector branch has threatened to disaffiliate entirely from Unite, the well-known ‘Right2Water’ campaign said it will no longer work with Unite, Unite’s Community section in Ireland condemned the ‘injustice inflicted’ on him and members picketed general secretary Sharon Graham’s long-delayed visit to Dublin last month.

Now Mr Ogle has lodged a complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission – Ireland’s binding statutory body under its Workplace Relations Act – over the union’s mistreatment.

Skwawkbox has reported extensively on Unite’s conduct toward Ogle and approached the union for comment, but rather than respond to the complaints, Unite threatened legal action against Skwawkbox for reporting on them. Skwawkbox stood by its reporting. Unite’s Irish office did not respond to press enquiries about Mr Ogle’s complaint.

After Ogle’s wife publicly complained about the union ‘freezing out’ her husband and sidelining him to an office miles away from his pre-cancer base in an effective demotion, a smear campaign involving anonymous accounts started against her, even though she had just been thanked by Sharon Graham for serving as a union rep. It remains to be seen whether a similar attempt to discredit Mr Ogle will occur now.

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