Wiltshire Council has lodged an appeal against a recent employment tribunal judgment which was made regarding an email sent, relating to proposed changes to the terms and conditions of some employees.

The council is disputing the tribunal’s conclusion that the claimants against the council, council employees represented by the GMB union, “were subjected to a detriment on grounds related to union activities”.

The context of the cause of the tribunal was an email sent by Wiltshire Council’s outgoing chief executive, Terence Herbert, about the ongoing situation of the council proposing to change the contractual terms and conditions of some staff and possible subsequent industrial action as a result. The judgment was confirmed on Wednesday, March 27, following a hearing that took place from Monday, February 5 and Friday, February 9 at Bristol Employment Tribunal.

In its notice of appeal, submitted on Friday, May 3, the council’s grounds of appeal are based on a number of factors, including the tribunal’s interpretation of the overall purpose behind the email in question, the conclusions that the claimants had suffered a detriment as a result, and the Interpretation of section 146 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992.

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Salisbury Journal: GMB Southern Region branch secretary Andy Newman leads a march against fire and rehire on Saturday, November 4, 2023.GMB Southern Region branch secretary Andy Newman leads a march against fire and rehire on Saturday, November 4, 2023. (Image: Joshua Truksa/Newsquest)

Andy Newman, branch secretary for Three Shires GMB, said the appeal appears to have little legal basis.

Andy said: “Our barrister is drafting an opinion and we will fight the appeal. We believe that the appeal is weak. We believe the original judgement was a very strong one.”

Mr Herbert has stood by his decision to send the email, saying on Friday, May 3 that the intention was to correct “misleading statements”.

Salisbury Journal: Wiltshire Council CEO Terence Herbert.Wiltshire Council CEO Terence Herbert. (Image: Wiltshire Council)

He made further comments on Tuesday, May 7, during the announcement of the appeal.

He said: “We haven’t made the decision to appeal lightly, but after carefully considering legal advice, we feel this is the correct course of action.

“We have always believed our position in this case was strong and that the email at the heart of this issue was intended to correct inaccurate information and reassure staff that the council was working to resolve this as swiftly as possible, as our priority throughout has been, and remains, the wellbeing of our staff.”