I could lose job over brawl at barbecue, admits Aslef chief

The suspended leader of the train drivers' union Aslef admitted last night that his job was on the line after spending several hours defending himself of charges following the infamous barbecue brawl.

Shaun Brady could become the first general secretary of a union to be sacked in more than a decade after an unseemly fracas with the union's president. He had appeared confident as he arrived at a disciplinary hearing yesterday and insisted he would "robustly defend" himself. But he left conceding that it had been an "upsetting" and stressful day.

The 41-year-old - who faces seven charges, including one of bringing the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) into disrepute and another related to the use of a credit card - has said he will contest every allegation.

He was suspended along with the assistant general secretary, Mick Blackburn, and president, Martin Samways, five days after a union gathering on 20 May. It is alleged that Mr Brady, a Blairite, was involved in a brawl with Mr Samways, a left-winger, at the union's Hampstead headquarters.

Mr Brady said the president had "turned up drunk at the party, abused people and then lashed out at a member of staff".

Mr Samways denied hitting Mr Brady's personal assistant, Julie Atkinson, while the general secretary has insisted that his involvement was simply to restrain the president. Mr Samways, 57, resigned in June, conceding that he had brought "huge shame" on the union and saying he was quitting for the good of the organisation. In the words of Matthias Kelly QC, who conducted an inquiry into the running of Aslef, the whole incident has helped to make the union a "laughing stock".

Mr Brady turned up yesterday to face the seven-member executive accompanied by train driver Len Worboys, amid claims he had been denied legal representation at the hearing.

Mr Worboys described the disciplinary system as "antiquated", adding: "Unfortunately he will have to make do with me." He said the charges were "without foundation".

Mr Brady, a former driver at South West Trains, was elected to the post in July 2003 in an unexpected victory over Mick Rix and had clashed with the more left-wing executive committee, of which Mr Samways was a member.

Two months ago Mr Kelly's report accused Mr Brady of handling the union's staff "aggressively and insensitively" and engaging in a damaging power struggle. The report, which Mr Brady dismissed as "absolute rubbish", said an "atmosphere of paranoia gripped the union" after the general secretary took office and a "smear campaign" was conducted against Mr Rix.

If, as expected, the union's disciplinary committee decides to dismiss the suspended general secretary, he will have six weeks to launch an appeal. Mr Blackburn faces a disciplinary hearing next week.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?