A WIGAN binman claims he shouldn’t have been given the sack – because he was being mocked for having a stutter.
Danny Jones was dismissed following a disciplinary hearing into his timekeeping and attendance record.
He used to get a lot of hassle off work colleagues and when he would go into the work canteen for the break they would goad him and copy his stutter, which was humiliating and bullyingMum Sheryl
The 27-year-old from Marsh Green suffers from a serious speech impediment and learning difficulties and his furious mum Sheryl Jones insists he has been subjected to years of “goading, mickey-taking and harassment” during his time at Wigan Council’s refuse department.
He accepts his timekeeping and attendance haven’t been perfect but says his lateness and absenteeism can be attributed to his treatment by some workmates at the depot, which, he says, “made my life a misery”.
Danny previously worked at the Metrolite Industries workshops in Ince making crown green bowls and window frames before its controversial closure due to Government spending cuts imposed on the council and like many of the workforce was encouraged into mainstream employment by the council.
But Danny, of Stranraer Road, claims he was wrongfully dismissed from his job on the bins because the council failed to support him during his spell at its depot in Makerfield Way.
Union bosses are backing his claim and helping him lodge an appeal against the council’s decision.
They hope to win back his job or another suitable position with the council.
His mum Sheryl Jones said that her son had not received the support he had been entitled to from council officers because of his condition in making the transition from Metrolite to working on the bins.
She believes that the council has breached the terms of the Equalities legislation in the way it has treated her son.
Sheryl said: “Daniel has had problems and that has meant he has ended up being late for work quite a lot and they have been on his back for that.
“And he has also been getting in trouble for not wearing his correct uniform but because he is only small and dead thin they never had his sizes.
“With him being called names at work and people taking the mickey because he has a really bad stutter sometimes and imitating him he can get a bit irate at times.
“We got him on an anger management course to help him control things and the bosses called him a liar saying that he wasn’t actually going.
“They wanted to terminate his contract half way through the disciplinary hearing but the union stopped them and all the managers have had something nasty to say about him.
“He has been to see occupational health and they say that he definitely comes under the Disability Act rules because of the speech impediment.
“He was happy at Metrolite because all the people there had learning difficulties but when it was closed down by the council, the bosses said the council would get jobs for them all elsewhere and they got Danny onto the waste collection.
“But he had never really had any support from the council to follow it up and they are now trying to deny that they even knew he had learning difficulties, even though they knew he was at Metrolite.
“He used to get a lot of hassle off work colleagues and when he would go into the work canteen for the break they would goad him and copy his stutter, which was humiliating and bullying.
“It should have been stopped...but it wasn’t.
“The council has really failed in it’s duty of care to him.”
Sonia Halliwell, assistant director for HR at the council, said: “Wigan Council can confirm that a waste collection loader was subject to a disciplinary hearing on March 31, resulting in a dismissal from employment. As the decision can be appealed, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
A spokesman for Wigan branch of the biggest town hall union, Unison, said: “We still believe that Mr Jones has a strong case and will be supporting his appeal because he has not received the support he should have had from the council.”