East Kilbride councilor calls for chair of Lanarkshire leisure trust to be removed

An East Kilbride councilor has reiterated his call for the chairman of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) to be removed from his post.

It comes after an employment court ruled in favor of your manager.

Former general manager, Gerry Campbell, won an employment tribunal against SLLC.

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Tribunal judges ruled in favor of Mr Campbell’s claim of unfair dismissal and breach of contract, also holding up claims under the Equality Act with compensation still to be decided.

Mr Campbell was SLLC general manager until April 2019, when he was sacked for alleged gross misconduct after a grievance from a leisure trust employee.

Independent councillor David Watson was removed from his post of board chairman as a result of the legal spat between SLLC and South Lanarkshire Council over how the grievance was handled.

He was replaced by SNP councillor Peter Craig but tribunal findings criticized the handling of the matter – and the removal of Councillor Watson – by the political leadership of both SLLC and the council.

The row saw Councillor Watson resign from the SNP and he said his position at the time not to hand control of the investigation into the grievance to South Lanarkshire Council – following advice from SLLC lawyers Shepherd and Wedderburn – has been “vindicated”.

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Judges ruled that SLLC was biased against Mr Campbell and that “certain people within the council were intent on disciplinary proceedings” against him.

Councillor Watson told Lanarkshire Live: “Councillor Craig should be removed as chairman of SLLC – his political leadership were heavily criticized by the tribunal.

“Given the findings of the tribunal, is it in the best interest of the good governance of SLLC to enable the continuity of the trust’s business and to protect the reputation of SLLC and the council, upon whose behalf SLLC deliver services to the South Lanarkshire area for Councilor Craig to continue as chair?

“It beggars’ belief that Councilor Craig has been allowed to stay in post with the support of the SNP Group leadership.”

Councillor Watson has also submitted motions to this week’s full meeting of South Lanarkshire Council for an independent inquiry into the implications for the local authority of the ruling tribunal and the immediate removal of Councilor Craig as a council representative to the board of SLLC.

A South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture spokesman said: “The SLLC board met on February 10 and asked the general manager and company secretary to take forward an independent review in order that lessons can be learned.

“The exact scope and timescales are being determined but it is likely that the review will be undertaken by an independent external employment law provider who has no previous involvement in the process.

“As there are ongoing legal proceedings it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this stage.”

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A council spokesman said its role in the process was guided by the service level agreement it had in place with SLLC at the time and it would consider any implications from the court judgement.

The SNP Group declined to comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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