Manager at Amazon 'fired over union link'

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The Independent Online

The world's biggest distributor of Harry Potter novels was accused yesterday of practising dark arts against trade unionism.

A former manager at the internet bookseller Amazon said he was sacked for suggesting he might join the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G).

Alex Ferguson told an employment tribunal that senior managers often held "war room" meetings at which they discussed which staff were in a union and who was likely to become a member. Mr Ferguson, who worked in Milton Keynes, declared an interest in union membership on 11 July and was fired three days later.

The company strongly denied Mr Ferguson's allegations, saying his dismissal was a result of "poor performance". But Mr Ferguson said he was one of the few managers to receive a pay rise a month earlier.

In a statement to the tribunal in Bedford, he said: "Because of my work record and the appreciation shown to me, I was totally shocked at my dismissal and believe that it was because of my intention to join a trade union."

Ron Tindall of the T&G said: "Amazon has shown the lengths it will go to keep unions out. But unlike Harry Potter, the company cannot wave a magic wand and make our union vanish.''

The hearing continues.