Woodbine

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  • in reply to: Council staff sickness #153533

    Woodbine
    Participant

    I’d love to see what info WCBC provided if that request was sent to them!I suspect that issues with bullying and workplace stress caused by cuts resulting in one person having to do a job formerly done by 2-3 account for more WCBC staff stress than that caused by job insecurity – or at least, just as much.

    As a rough idea, my solicitor estimated that my case alone cost them at least £45 000, composed of my ‘remedy’payment, barrister’s fees, solicitors’ time, lost hours of work for two managers, one solicitor and an HR officer preparing for and attending a two-day tribunal, and the tribunal fees they had to refund to me because they lost. That’s before you add in my wages during the 6 months or so of sick-leave I had off in total over the 4 years or so I endured the bullying!

    (Incidentally, my compensation was pitifully small because it was classed as ‘just’ bullying, not harassment under the Equalities Act – funny how four years of intensive bullying for no discernible reason is considered far less serious than a single occurrence of discrimination by this government when surely they are equally heinous and should be stopped! WCBC will have had to make far higher payments if they have lost any cases involving discrimination. Whether any of this is covered by insurance of some kind I don’t know.)

    in reply to: Council staff sickness #153526

    Woodbine
    Participant

    I agree Council Watcher, particularly with your point on bullying.

    I worked for WCBC for 10 years, leaving just over 3.5 years ago. Unfortunately my last four years there became a nightmare when my wonderful boss retired and another member of staff was promoted to manager. She was a bully, and staff turnover soon rocketed, but HR seemed unconcerned. HR were completely uninterested in helping me, despite colleagues being willing to witness to her atrocious behaviour towards me and other colleagues, many of whom were also suffering. It’s along story, but eventually I resigned (after 2 bouts of Clinical Depression my GP recommended that I get out ASAP) and took the council to a Tribunal claiming Constructive Dismissal.

    I won, with the Judge finding them guilty of Constructive, Wrongful and Unfair dismissal as well as Breach of Contract (it’s called ‘throwing the book’ I think!). In his written judgement he stated his concerns that the Council’s HR dept had repeatedly ignored my concerns and failed to investigate properly what was happening, and added his opinion that that my former manager had ‘regrettably’ (and repeatedly) tried to mislead the Tribunal whilst on oath. In the section of the written Judgement in which blame is proportioned to assist with the calculation of ‘compensation’ he said WCBC were 100% to blame, and me 0%, something my Barrister and solicitor say is incredibly rare.

    However, despite this, the manager was allowed to remain in her post, and according to former colleagues, she continued intimidating and bullying other staff. I know of someone who works for WCBC in another dept who is having issues with a bullying manager at the moment, but yet again the HR dept are unwilling to help.

    Unless WCBC HR get it into their heads (and working practices!) that managers can be bullies and may well be in the wrong and their ‘minions’ in the right, and take such issues as disproportionately high staff turnover in a department seriously enough to find out why it’s happening, they will continue to have numerous staff signed off with stress and depression, and often for very good reason.
    Such a waste of money paying staff when they’re off instead of getting to the roots of the reasons they’re ill and putting things right, not to mention the fact that they are tacitly approving of bullying!

    in reply to: A&E Waiting Times & HMP Berwyn #152704

    Woodbine
    Participant

    Unfortunately it appears that someone has been having you (or maybe the nurse) on Birdman!
    HMP Berwyn does not have any prisoners convicted of any sex-related crimes including rape. This was in the details publicised and agreed to before it was built. If you’re not convinced, do a little research and you’ll see it’s a fact that in the UK such prisoners are kept in a limited number of prisons with special adaptations, and Berwyn isn’t one of them.


    Woodbine
    Participant

    I know I may not be popular for saying this, but I can see where the council is coming from with the charges for Blue Badge Holders. A friend and I used to work for the same employer. She used a wheelchair and had a blue badge, I didn’t. The suggestion that all blue badge holders need help to afford parking would lead to the obvious conclusion that she was paid less than me, which in fact she wasn’t. Where I now work there are people with a range of physical conditions in receipt of very good wages.

    The implication that all badge holders need help to pay for parking could be seen as demeaning to those holders who have excellent jobs (or have had good jobs and now have reasonable pensions) and only encourages the false perception that disabled people, including people having difficulty with mobility, couldn’t possibly be able to hold down a good job. I know that there are barriers created by some outdated employers who have issues employing someone with a disability, but don’t you think that assuming all blue badge holders must be on low incomes is only going to encourage this horrendous view?
    I’d also suspect that most blue badge holders receive more benefits than most receiving financial support (and very rightly so) so perhaps a means test connected to the blue badge would be a fairer way to go – that way those with mobility limitations and also low incomes could be allocated free parking the limited funding available in all areas today could be targeted at those really struggling to pay to park?

    (I don’t say this as someone with no understanding of the difficulties lack of mobility can cause, but as someone with a progressive condition that already makes walking very painful, and is certain to become much worse in the future)

    in reply to: Difficult Decisions – Staff and Member car parking #139699

    Woodbine
    Participant

    I worked for the council for ten years (leaving about 4 years ago).
    I can’t speak for all depts of course, or say if anything has changed since I changed employer, but where I worked it was the managers who had all the free parking, not the ones who regularly went in and out each day to events and meetings, often with heavy boxes, etc.

    If they do keep some free staff parking it shouldn’t be allocated on the grounds of seniority, or length of employment at the council, but on the grounds of need due to the specific job done and the regularity of travelling required for that post.(Decided centrally not by individual managers who generally want spaces for themselves, and preferably by a points system based on frequency of need for a car.) Otherwise, as someone else has pointed out, the best paid get the spaces, and they definitely are least in need of them!

    in reply to: Drinking in Rhosddu Cemetary #120470

    Woodbine
    Participant

    I have worked very closely with some of these people, and been involved in doing some of the unpleasant tasks you mention – please don’t make assumptions.
    My point is that if, as a society, we provided proper mental health care and housing this problem would be greatly reduced which, I agree, would benefit the whole of society. I agree that the results of homelessness and mental illness are unpleasant, to say the least, for those affected both by being in these difficult situations and having to clean up after them.However, the assumption that the people you are talking about choose to be homeless, enjoy being addicted to drugs, choose to become depressed couldn’t, at least in most cases, be more wrong.
    It should be obvious, too, that providing more public toilets and enough night shelters where people can access toilets and showers would mean less excrement, etc, to pick up! If you were out on a freezing cold night, needed the loo, but found all toilets locked and no space in the night shelter, what would you do?

    Sure, as in all sectors of society, some don’t care what mess they leave behind for others – flytippers for example – and there is no excuse in those cases. But sometimes people have no choice because they have lost all rights and power to change their lives, and we need to give them that dignity back. (While, of course, making it clear to those who are have no wish to change their unacceptable behavior – whoever they are – what can and can’t be tolerated for the sake of society as a whole.)

    in reply to: Drinking in Rhosddu Cemetary #120436

    Woodbine
    Participant

    It makes me very sad to see some of the comments on this thread. Yes, some of the people who are homeless are not people who we might think of as ‘nice’ or ‘respectable’ but they are people, none the less.
    People who may have made some wrong choices in their lives in some cases – but don’t we all? Many have lost home and jobs through mental illness. One in four adults in the UK suffers from mental illness in the UK every year so it could just be you next. Some have lost good businesses through no fault of their own, sometimes because they’ve been cheated or fallen ill or just drowned in red tape.
    Some have been through desperate family tragedies, some thrown onto the street because their families are impossible to be with or because of a rogue landlord. many would love to have a home like yours to live in. Have you who dismiss them as rubbish in a few ill-judged words ever tried to get to know any one of these real, suffering people? Ever done even the littlest thing to try to help? You claim they are smelly or scruffy – maybe you could take some toiletries or clothes to the Salvation Army so that they can get clean and warm?
    I can understand that these people seem frightening – the same can be said for many others too. I under stand that syringes in a play area are a bad thing – though most aren’t left in the playground itself actually.
    The real scandal is that in such a rich society we can’t even provide decent mental health services or a single room for certain members of our own society. That we’d rather judge them and give them derogatory labels though we know little about them than complain to the Council that they are failing in their duty to provide homes for all residents.
    How can we help such people, and in so doing, maybe help ourselves to be better members of society too?

    in reply to: HMRC Office in Wrexham to Close. #103491

    Woodbine
    Participant

    If you’re concerned about Wrexham / Wales losing jobs to Liverpol / England please sign the petition:

    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-hmrc-jobs-in-north-wales/signatures.html

    Civil Servants have had no payrises at all, even to keep up with inflation, for many years and now are threatened with forced long commutes or redundancy. Also means no Compliance teams anywhere in North or Mid Wales. Seems to me a charter for tax ‘avoidance’ to bloom! Can’t see any logic in relocating to more expensive city-centre land either – surely no benefit to tax-payers either!

    in reply to: Budget Cuts for 2016 #100838

    Woodbine
    Participant

    As a former employee of WCBC that was based in the town centre can I please make it clear that only a minority of staff have free parking – naturally it’s the higher paid staff that are allocated spaces while those on lower wages have to pay themselves. In theory this is because those at higher grades are more likely to be ‘essential’ car users. However our managers had spaces allocated though they only left the office on council business requiring a car once in a blue moon whereas a colleague who travelled almost daily as part of her job was not considered an ‘essential car user’ so had to pay herself. This needs looking at – but not by the managers who naturally want to retain their parking spaces!
    Some time ago it was suggested that a small pool of spaces and /or company cars were reserved for those needing to use a car on a given day, the remainder of spaces being freed up for other use. I think this system has been successfully trialled in Flintshire, but I haven’t heard anything more about it being implemented in Wrexham.

    in reply to: St MARKS NCP CARPARK #100835

    Woodbine
    Participant

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet is that St Marks car park forms part of the emergency escape route for the upper floors of some of the shops in that block of regent St as well as the large Methodist church that is open and busy every day. Not sure how people would escape in case of fire if the car park is closed up?

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