Women's Aid staff given 'no notice' before closure amid bullying allegations

The Easterhouse-based organisation said it was 'deeply saddened' to announce the closure last week.

Glasgow East Women’s Aid staff given ‘no notice’ before closure amid bullying allegations iStock

Staff at a domestic abuse charity in Glasgow were given “no notice” before the organisation announced its closure last week, according to a union.

Members of Glasgow East Women’s Aid (GEWA) in Easterhouse were told the charity would be closing down permanently amid allegations of bullying.

Unite the Union confirmed in November staff voted to walk out following the suspension of 13 staff.

The dismissals were being claimed as unfair on the basis that it is specifically linked to their trade union activities.

The union had launched legal action on behalf of five members dismissed by the organisation during the ballot period and the staff were reinstated in January.

Unite claim workers were given “no notification or consultation” and that the union were first made aware the charity had been placed into administration through media sources.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The mismanagement at Glasgow East Women’s Aid is one of the worst cases we have ever come across. 

“Make no mistake we will get to the bottom of this sorry mess and we will fight for all our members to secure justice.”

Linda Wilson, Unite industrial officer, said: “The story of Glasgow East Women’s Aid over the last six months has been one of turmoil and chaos. Unite has protected and defended our members at all times, and we will continue to do so.

“It is our understanding that the organisation being placed in administration was primarily due to public monies either being withheld or withdrawn by Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government. We are urgently seeking clarity on whether this is in fact the case because there has been zero transparency.

“The actions of Glasgow East Women’s Aid regarding the lack of consultation is potentially illegal. Unite is contacting all our members to progress protective award claims being lodged against the organisation.”

A statement from the GEWA board said: “We are deeply saddened by the closure of the centre. The board has taken advice from liquidators and employment specialists around the closure process. It is confident that all legal processes have been followed.

“Staff have been offered support through the Employee Assistance Programme and we continue to be in communication with them and their representatives to help them transition through this difficult time.”

Glasgow City Council said the organisation was not closing down due to the withdrawal of council funding.

A spokeswoman for GCC said: “We are aware of the Glasgow East Women’s Aid (GEWA) intention to close. 

“While it is extremely disappointing the Board has had to take this decision, the focus now is to maintain the continued delivery of support and services to women and children affected by domestic abuse.

“Officers, along with representatives from other funders of GEWA, have been working closely with the organisation during this difficult period and will continue to do so.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We are aware of this closure and that Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership is working on refuge contingency plans for those affected and that other Women’s Aid groups locally are continuing to provide support.

“The Scottish Government is working with partners to ensure that the funding we had allocated to GEWA will be redistributed to similar local services and reaches women who need support.”

Women and children who need support should contact Glasgow Women’s Aid on 0141 553 2022 or the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234.

In a crisis situation, 999 should be called.

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