Aslef leader accused of ill-treating staff

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The Independent Online

One of the union leaders involved in the "battle of the barbecue" treated his organisation's staff "aggressively and insensitively", a report drawn up by an eminent QC says.

One of the union leaders involved in the "battle of the barbecue" treated his organisation's staff "aggressively and insensitively", a report drawn up by an eminent QC says.

The report by Matthias Kelly, a former chairman of the Bar Council, found that Shaun Brady, the Blairite general secretary of the train drivers' union Aslef, engaged in a damaging power struggle after he was elected to the post last year. The report says "an atmosphere of paranoia gripped the union'' after Mr Brady took office and a "smear campaign" was conducted against Mick Rix, the left-wing, previous general secretary.

After a two-and-a-half month inquiry, Mr Kelly urged Aslef to take 50 measures to increase "transparency, democracy and accountability" in the union.

The report found that severance payments to Mr Rix and Debbie Dwight, the former officer manager at the union, were "properly authorised, legal and justified" and "were not, as had been alleged, a misuse of the union's assets".

Mr Kelly said there was no "scorched earth" policy during the period before Mr Brady took office. It had been alleged that left-wingers had taken steps to disrupt the organisation and destroy files. It was also alleged that a special "hacking'' system had been installed during Mr Rix's time in office to allow confidential files to been seen. But the inquiry found that the equipment was fitted after Mr Brady, who "had the best interests of the members at heart", took office.

Mr Brady denounced the findings as "absolute rubbish" and said the left-dominated executive of the union had prevented him giving evidence.

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