Union driver `told he had no case' `caused problems'

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A senior union official yesterday told an industrial tribunal that a member who had alleged racial harassment could not justify his claims.

Robert Badlan, the regional industrial officer for the General Municipal Boilermakers Union's London region, said he told Tahir Janjua that he felt he did not have a case.

Mr Badlan told the hearing in Croydon, south London, that when he first met the former chauffeur to the union's general secretary, John Edmonds, "it took me quite a while to find out it was racial harassment". Pakistan- born Mr Janjua, 38, is claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds of racial discrimination.

Mr Badlan said he had told Mr Janjua that "the allegations he was making were very serious and, if pursued, someone could be facing the sack". Mr Badlan said he took independent legal advice, and "the opinion was that Mr Janjua did not have a case".

Mr Janjua, of Norbury, south London, had made an allegation of racial harassment against Edna Davis, the personal assistant to the general secretary, only months after starting his job in February 1993. He was dismissed in March last year.

Mr Badlan, questioned by Gerry German, representing Mr Janjua, denied that he had told Mr Janjua what to say.

"He told me he was mistaken about the racial harassment," Mr Badlan said. "At the end of the meeting he apologised ... There was no prompting from me."

Mr Edmonds told the tribunal Mr Janjua caused problems in the office by insisting on having his overtime sheets signed each day, "although it was not necessary".

Mr Edmonds said it was his job to investigate racial allegations and he did this by talking to all the parties concerned.

"When it came down to it, all we had were two allegations ... All we had were two incidents relating to one week only and that did not seem to me to be justification ... There is no question that Mr Janjua's race figures in any way in the [disciplinary] procedures," he said.

The hearing continues.