FBU general secretary is SUED by serving executive council member

flickr.com / lewishamdreamer

NEWS REACHES this blog that the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Matt Wrack (pictured above), is being sued by a serving member of the union’s ruling body. The unnamed member of the executive council (EC) has alleged that the general secretary discriminated against him on the grounds of a “protected characteristic” – thereby breaching the Equality Act 2010 – and has lodged a claim at the employment tribunal.

This blog has not seen particulars of the claim, and we therefore make no judgement as to its merits. But the mere fact that the general secretary is being personally sued by a fellow senior official will cause concern throughout the union and, on that basis, it is perfectly legitimate to bring it to the attention of members.

We understand that a preliminary hearing into the claim has already been held at the employment tribunal, with a full hearing likely to take place later this year. As the accused, the general secretary will be expected to take the witness stand.

This startling development should be seen in the context of wider revelations – first published by this blog and later covered by Private Eye magazine – that a string of FBU employees, including elected national officers, departed the union with secret pay-offs and gagging orders after making allegations of mistreatment against senior officials.

We know that a number of those allegations focused on the personal conduct of the general secretary. In some cases, the complainants had accused the general secretary of bullying them.

We also know that, in 2021, the general secretary was forced to issue a public retraction and apology after falsely accusing a former member of the executive council of being a thief.

This blog has called for an independent external review to conduct a thorough examination into the culture at FBU head office, with a particular focus on employment practices and workforce relations. Just two weeks ago, we revealed how a 66-year-old female employee had been subjected to appalling and unjustified treatment at the hands of the union’s leaders.   

The news that the general secretary is now being sued by an EC member is bound to generate further questions about how the union is being run. As this blog has argued, the FBU is now more undemocratic and authoritarian than at any time in its history, presided over by a leadership that has lost its way and treats the organisation as though it were its own personal property.

It is a leadership which, ultimately, is no longer fit to lead.

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