Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Because I Raised My Concerns, I Was out; Metro Worker Claiming Whistleblowing Cost Him His Job

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Because I Raised My Concerns, I Was out; Metro Worker Claiming Whistleblowing Cost Him His Job

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY HUNT

SAFETY fears about the Metro led to a whistle blower being forced from his job, he claimed.

Electrical engineer Bijan Zakeri worked for Metro's owner Nexus for 28 years until retiring on ill health grounds in February.

But he alleges negative treatment from bosses and colleagues after he raised concerns about safety, maintenance and machinery training, left him unable to do his job.

And at an employment hearing in Newcastle, he is claiming constructive dismissal and disability discrimination against Nexus -claims the organisation disputes.

Among the issues he said he raised with bosses were: an announcement system at Heworth being connected to a light switch so it would only work when the lights were on a colleague pouring petrol on and then setting fire to tyres on a cherry picker then urinating on them to douse the flames dodgy electrical wiring in cupboards in stations, and workers bodging repairs to cables on the track because they did not have the right materials or equipment.

Mr Zakeri, 58, worked as an assistant technician in the communications department when, in 2002 he began to raise issues.

Subsequently, he claims, he was overlooked for promotion and subjected to negative treatment by colleagues and managers until he was signed off sick with stress in 2009. He resigned a year later.

Mr Zakeri, from Whickham, Gateshead, said he was not placed on an email list of people who should receive a "traffic circular", which gives permission to work on the track. Because of this he was not always able to carry out work on the track and therefore could not do parts of his job.

Once, he claims, he was asked to sign a record to say he had completed work which he had not because he could not get access to the track.

And shortly after this, in November 2007, he was signed off with stress for three weeks.

The day he returned he was sent to take part in the second day of a two-day course to learn how to work a cherry picker.

He said he was then asked to sign a form to say he had attended both days. When he mentioned this to his manager, he claims he was told to sign it and was subsequently given a licence to use a cherry picker. …

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