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Have you been let down by your union?? NUT negligence!

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by j.thornton, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. Hi - just wondered after my solicitor told me the NUT had been negligent in advice given and actions taken - what other people's experiences were??
    I recently got let down seriously by the NUT and was advised to make a civil claim?? I am not bothering but did pull out of their union - I am now in need of joining another - but thought I'd see what the majority advised on their experiences.
    I am not saying the NUT may be bad for all but in this particular matter I think there was some underhand dealings..
  2. I took the advice of the NUT and (very, very reluctantly) rather then sue for constructive dismissal I accepted 3 months pay and a fair reference so I could work again (after 20 years of teaching and tonnes of bullying evidence). As soon as I started to apply for alternative employment I discovered that under safeguarding guidelines you now require 2 professional references from the last 2 years, therefore one reference is useless.As this is common practice I can only assume the NUT knew this. I gave up my job for nothing and have no legal recourse. I have been unemployed now for almost a year. I had to cancel my subscription to the NUT because I couldn't afford it. Despite making a complaint I never heard from them again. Please, please, don't accept a compromise agreement without getting a second legal opinion. Learn from my mistake!!!

    pepper5 likes this.
  3. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    There have been a number of recent threads on a similar theme, including this one:
    What I did not realise, until quite recently, is that a union's solicitor's client is the union and not the member. This means that, where legal advice/support given by union lawyers is professionally negligent, the member is unable to make a complaint to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority, because he/she is not the client. Even if it were possible, the SRA does not investigate issues of 'poor service'. I am now a (very new) law student and my tutor, who is a solicitor, has said that in her professional experience as a solicitor of 30 years, teaching unions' legal support was 'generally useless'. That's just anecdotal, but interesting.
    A complaint could be made to the TUC and, I am advised, it is theoretically possible to take action for breach of contract. You may notice a couple of posts discussing this issue on the above thread. My own union does include in its small print reference to providing members with 'the best legal support', which mine ceratinly did not. It seems another poster's research shows that the small print on the NUT and NASUWT's websites is far more vague.
    I am now getting superb legal advice and support from a specialist lawyer but have made the point before that most teachers do not have the resources to fund litigation against former employers themselves. They believe that their unions will support them well, should they ever need it, but only realise the deficiency when it is too late.
    pepper5 and escape4hell like this.
  4. mikeonfreeserve

    mikeonfreeserve New commenter

    You have to have legal advice before you can compromise away your rights. The advisor is held to the same standard be they a solicitor experienced in the field - would you let your union by your house for you? - or a union rep.You have 6 years from someone acting negligently to sue. The claim is against whoever advised you, not your emplyer, who may have got off very lightly here.
    Unions intermeddle and if it holds itself out as advising, which it will, unless it facilitates a direct link or retainer between a solicitor and the individual member, the union can cop it if advice is mistaken or given too late.
    That the union pays these solicitors and also is purporting to look after the interests of other members is ripe for problems, to say the least. Union reps seem to be just firefighting without any real plan. It's not their fault if the union lumps them with the responsibility andimportant points are missed.
    Always get a your own legal opinion, which is confidential, and which
    you do not have to disclose to your union which will probably drop you
    if you are seen as having gone outside the cosy relationship it may have
    with its own solicitors.
    Teachers have a reputation for having a view on everything but sometimes it is necessary to see an expert, especially if a career is at stake.

    pepper5 likes this.
  5. mangokitty

    mangokitty New commenter

    Oh, and if if anyone is wondering why I just didn't take the £1000 and leave- we can't afford it, since if I don't get a job in time (my husband's wage isn't enough to cover our bills and mortgage) we would be in serious financial trouble within a couple of months. I guess we'll be putting the idea of starting a family on permanent hold (I'm 37, so not much time left anyway). Thanks for reading- if you did. If you didn't, I can't say I blame you- it was pretty long.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I'm sorry to hear of your problems, esp. at this time of year. This must be incredibly worrying for your family. I would just suggest that you repost this on 'Workplace Dilemma' along with a slightly different title - I'm not sure (even if it feels like this to you) that the NUT have been incompetent rather that they've been left in the lurch by an extremely unethical school decision to renege on their promise to you.

    I hope you get the advice you need, and another job in a more appreciative workplace...
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. mangokitty

    mangokitty New commenter

    I re-posted, but someone replied saying I could be identified by the detailed information I provided. Now I am seriously worried I'll get sued or something. How do I take all my posts off of here? Nothing I said was untruthful as I was told by the NUT, but I don't want to end up being sued for slander or something.
  8. Dear Mangokitty

    Thank you for your post and being brave!

    Your post gave me strength to speak out.

    I have been ill for a while now and NUT neglected my case completely. I have complained on various levels and even London secretary wouldn?t do anything. They were literary forcing me (even threatening me) to resign and accept a generous 3 months salary, which is offered by my contract anyway. They point of view was: ?deal or no deal?. I have now found other sources to represent my case and NUT refuse to give notes, minutes from previous meetings and updates!

    For all teachers who have difficulties at work:

    It was confirmed by the London NUT secretary that NUT :

    ? don?t deal with grievances because they don?t ?believe? in it

    ? similarly appeals you have to deal with because they don?t have time to sit down and give personal advice to everybody (if your case goes to tribunal these would be your most important evidences!)

    ? you can not contact them via phone because they mobile for ?work? not for clients

    ? you have no right for second opinion (one REP and that is all you get if you get)

    ? they don?t have time for personal meetings because they are ?busy?

    ? if you sick they happy to ?represent? you on a meeting however their opinion (settlement ASAP) will be represented not YOUR request

    ? if you don?t take their advice (settlement for 3 months) you refuse to cooperate

    ? there are no notes from calls, discussions made on your behalf (again no evidence at all, according to solicitors it is very unprofessional)

    ? you have no case file, so if your REP is away nobody can pick up previous info

    ? NUT REPs go for holidays just like teachers so if you unlucky like me and your meeting in a last few days you have no REP for six week (again a case file would work here to)

    ? They ?sometimes? miss your meetings, emails, phone messages because they are overloaded, so it is fine and you HAVE to understand

    ? If you ill and they ?represent? you on a meeting they will not provide minutes because it is they personal notes

    ? they only win 9% of employment cases

    ? and lastly ? most importantly ? ?unparalleled legal and professional support, including solicitors in every regional office? (quote: www.teachers.org.uk/.../reasons ) is your REP

    ? apparently there is a guideline which states: if you contact outside agencies you have lost your right to your union representation (they did not respond to anything, or you needed professional help for your grievance and they refused it)

    ? I have requested this ?guideline? and never got it, however, it exists because everybody at NUT HO knows about it

    ? I have requested several times to send me information about their governing body and regulatory organization, never got it

    I have now lost my job and my carrier and NUT did nothing but promissing and pushing me to resign for 1,5 years. They neglect made my appeal much more difficult to prove and to present. (This is because of the 3months time limit at ET)

    If I had paid all NUT annual fees into my saving account I could afford a great solicitor who would be willing to fight for my rights!

    I am going to my MP to complain.

    Also, I believe that most teachers join to the union for support if and when it is needed. In my experience I got the opposite. Dealing with NUT and their neglect was equally stressful.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. Yes, I am considering a civil claim after my NUT rep responded to requests for help with aggressive, self aggrandizing emails that my colleagues described as him shouting at me - that is just how it felt. Then I asked for copies of notes he took at a meeting about me, that I was at, and he refused. I ended up paying a solicitor for the help I had expected to get from the union. It made a horrible situation much worse.
  10. yes! in 2005, i was left out in the cold. after months of preparation the NUT, at the 11th hour, refused to support my claim the TUPE existed and valid, saying TUPE was difficult to prove. but i had already applied to ET so was left to represent myself since their solicitors, with all their law degrees were a pathetic waste of time. my mum was a TUC rep on the panel of 3 (when she was alive RIP) and always said it was heavily waited against the employee cox chairman are qualified solicitors and always on side of employers as same class. yet still i represented myself and won by 3-0 majority. a layman, a maths teacher with no law degree and i won. says a lot about NUT!!
  11. the NUT rused to support my claim that TUPE applied in a transfer, saying they are to difficult to prove, yet i won my claim 3-0 after being forced to represent myself. which is not only gross negligence , i also proved it by winning my case on my own, no law degree and no incompetent solicitor or barrister, so what are we paying the unions for?

    because i won the case in law i was battered at the remedy and received bare minimum compensation. due to having no representation

    i have not worked since, due to the stress of it all and i'm sure i have a rock solid case of negligence due to winning. but how do i go about suing a powerful union when i'm on long term sick and no finances.

    i feel now i can persue it but were do i start..

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