A former mental health nurse has won his case for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal after he was sacked from an NHS Trust in 2010 for whistleblowing.
Mr Yunus Bakhsh, a former mental health nurse at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, was an extremely long-serving employee, having served 23 years in the NHS. He was, and is, also a militant Trade Unionist.
He succeeded in his claim for unfair dismissal after he was dismissed in 2008 after complaining about how middle management at the Trust were handling pay rises. Mr Bakhsh alleged in 2006 that managers at the Trust were viciously cutting budgets at the hospital (which apparently extended to stopping hot dinners for elderly patients) but were awarding themselves pay increases at the same time. He filed a formal grievance relating to this and, as a result, was suspended in the same year. He was sacked in 2008 for misconduct (alleged, and unproven, bullying) and subsequently pursued an Employment Tribunal case against the Trust for unfair dismissal. He claimed that he had blown the whistle on the practices at the Trust and had, as a result, been sacked.
In 2010 the Employment Tribunal found the Trust liable for unfair dismissal and awarded Mr Bakhsh £110,000 in compensation. The Employment Tribunal also ordered (unusually) that Mr Bakhsh be reinstated to his former position at the NHS Trust. However, the Trust has so far declined to do so, leading Mr Bakhsh to request a judicial review of the Trust’s decision to fail to reinstate him. A High Court Judge has recently ruled that Mr Bakhsh is free to pursue a case for judicial review, even though he fell outside of the time limits for doing so. Mr Bakhsh is also pursuing the Trust for £200,000 in legal fees incurred as a result of the cases. The Trust has recently been heavily criticised by MPs for the amount of money it has spent as a result of the case.
Speaking after the Employment Tribunal, Mr Bakhsh said that he was grateful for the support of other Trade Unionists who had helped him through his Employment Tribunal. He was, however, scathing of the Trade Union itself, stating that Union officials had failed to protect him against the attacks on him by his employer. He said they had “betrayed the principle of Trade Unionism”. He also spoke out about the pay rises awarded to bosses whilst lower level staff were victimised, bullied and badly paid. He said he was seen as a thorn in the side of his bosses and therefore driven out.