Monday, April 30, 2007

Rhetta gets a result

FRIENDS supporting Rhetta Moran (Socialist Workers photograph).
IT is nice to report that one of the people we have championed in this blog has got a favourable result. On Thursday last week I told how Dr.Rhetta Moran, who despite our support had failed to be re-instated by the University of Salford, was having to go back to the tribunal to oppose a bid by her former employers for costs.

I was concerned both for the effect on Dr.Moran if she lost and for the message that might go out to others who considered themselves victimised by an employer, that if they dared exercise their right to an employment tribunal and lost, they could find themselves penalised.

Brent Trades Union Council in north-west London authorised me to protest to Salford. In reply the university vice chancellor Michael Harloe wrote that because Rhetta Moran had put up such "unprecedented" opposition, cross-examining witnesses, and so forth, "the case was inordinately long and costly".

"Dr Moran’s litigation against the University has diverted scarce resources which otherwise would have served the University’s education mission. As we are substantially publicly funded, the University is obliged to recover costs under these circumstances. Our relatively modest application for costs is subject to the judgement of the Tribunal".

Today however I received a thankyou note which has gone out to supporters, saying the Employment Tribunal "unanimously decided against awarding costs against Dr Rhetta Moran so as not to put people off representing themselves at tribunal".

"Supporters of Dr Rhetta Moran petitioned the University of Salford through its Vice Chancellor Micheal Harloe urging him to use his power and drop the University's application that Rhetta pay costs for the Employment Tribunal.

The pleas, in their hundreds, fell on deaf ears and the University went back to court, continuing the claim for costs.

They lost.

"The University's expensive barrister and solicitors were in attendance, along with several senior managers, to argue for up to £10, 000 in costs from Dr Moran who had represented herself throughout the case.

"The tribunal chair said that it was the Employment Tribunal's ethos to ensure individuals felt they could represent themselves at tribunal. The Tribunal decided unanimously that they would not allow costs to be claimed and reference was made to a "David and Goliath" scenario.

"The campaign had been organised by the NUJ with General Secretary Jeremy Dear describing the University's actions as "unjust and unfair", expressing concerns at victimising workers who had lost their jobs and then used their legal rights to attend Employment Tribunal.

"Rhetta Moran and her campaigners are very grateful for the incredible support that has been shown".

And we should be grateful for the fight she has put up. Even if Rhetta did not succeed in getting her job back she has given the authorities something to think about, and prevented what could have been a nasty precedent for working people, too.

  • ON a personal note, I am pleased to say I got another result today, a request from organisers of the anti-Norman Finkelstein petition that I tell them where my name appeared so they could remove it, as I requested. If anyone else out there still finds their name misused in this way I hope they will feel encouraged to complain too.

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At 6:04 PM, Blogger Aubrey Blumsohn said...


Would be good if you could give this attempt by Rhetta and myself
(to get some answers) a little coverage

Part 1: A story and statement from Rhetta Moran Moran - a statement

Part 2: Letter of this week to Sally Hunt from Rhetta and myself

A Letter to sally Hunt (Moran/Blumsohn)

part 3: The cartoon version

the cartoon version


Aubrey Blumsohnsome of the
principles this week, and would be very pleased if
you could give us a bit of coverage

Part 1: A story and statement from Rhetta Moran

Part 2: Letter of this week to Sally Hunt from Rhetta and myself

part 3: The cartoon version


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