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Cemetery worker backed by judge over tribunal
A FORMER cemetery gatekeeper who won his case against Worcester City Council when they unfairly sacked him is celebrating after an appeal was thrown out.
David Allen, who worked for the authority for 30 years, took his employers to an employment tribunal in July 2011.
The 49-year-old, who was also employed by the council as a gravedigger, was dismissed on ill-health grounds after developing the condition vibration whitefinger, caused by using machinery.
An in-house investigation then found his son Mark had used a council strimmer without permission, and he was fired – a decision upheld by a councillors’ appeal panel at the time.
Last year Mr Allen won his case at Birmingham Emplyment Tribunal, only for council chiefs to take the matter to an Employment Appeal Tribunal in London.
But last week Judge William Birtles, sitting on the appeal, refused it and said the original court must now decide what compensation Mr Allen is due.
Mr Allen believes he may have a claim for up to £20,000 – which would come from taxpayers – but this has yet to be confirmed.
As of today the authority has 14 days remaining to consider an appeal over the rejection.
Mr Allen, who lives in Canterbury Road, Ronkswood, said: “I’m delighted by the decision because it’s been a long time to get to this stage.
“It has now been sent back to the original judge for compensation to be awarded, so I’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
“Because I haven’t had any money to get a solicitor I’ve had to defend myself, so it’s been tough.”
Mr Allen was evicted from his on-site house last year and has got a job two days a week at Bishop Perowne CE College, doing general work such as gardening.
He was so cash-strapped last year that he put banners outside his home pleading for help from a solicitor, but after nothing came from it he defended himself.
A city council spokeswoman said: “Although there are two sides to this story, we do accept the tribunal’s decision.
“We have not yet received the tribunal’s written judgement and we are unable to comment further for reasons of confidentiality.”