Union leaders call on BBC to reinstate sacked Arab producers

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

NUJ | 13 October 2003

Fifteen of Britain's top trade union leaders have issued a joint call for BBC Director General, Greg Dyke, to reinstate two sacked journalists. The union leaders, who include Sir Bill Morris, Tony Woodley, Billy Hayes and Michael Leahy have called for the BBC to enter talks with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and negotiate the reinstatement of two Arabic Service producers sacked by the BBC on the eve of the war in Iraq. The two producers, Adli Hawwari and Abdul-Hadi Jiad, who are both NUJ activists, were instantly dismissed on 19 February in breach of the BBC's own guidelines and procedures. The two men were also denied the right to appeal. The sackings were carried out by senior BBC managers with the full support of Greg Dyke. Adli and Abdul-Hadi were senior journalists with 16 and 13 years' service respectively. They were sacked without any warning. Neither had ever had their performance or conduct questioned; according to the NUJ their 'crime' was to complain about racial discrimination. NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "Greg Dyke has said often that if the BBG makes a mistake, it should apologise and learn lessons. This is one case where the wrong done by the BBC is very clear. It is a clear denial of rights under the BBC's own procedures and contrary to natural justice." A resolution passed unanimously at the recent TUC Congress in Brighton in September expressed alarm at the "peremptory sackings of two BBG Arabic journalists in breach of agreed procedures". Although the TUC resolution made clear that it supported the BBC as a public service.. it also called for "an independent inquiry into racism at the BBC .” And more than 300 delegates to TUC Congress signed a petition calling upon Mr Dyke to negotiate with the NUJ the reinstatement of Adli and Abdul-Hadi. TGWU General Secretary Tony Woodley said: "The TUC supports the right of the NUJ to represent its members, as well as the statutory and contractual rights of the individuals. The BBC must realise that the sackings add to union concerns about the ease with which some employers sack employees. We are deeply concerned that the BBC behaved in a manner reminiscent of the most unscrupulous employers. We urge Mr Dyke to demonstrate that the BBC is a bastion of fair play, and reinstate the two producers". .. Today's call has been issued by: Sir Bill Morris, TGWU, General Secretary Tony Woodley, TGWU, General Secretary Elect Ian McGarry, EQUITY, General Secretary Harry Landis, EQUITY, President Mick Rix, General Secretary, ASLEF Bob Crow, General Secretary, RMT Michael Leahy, General Secretary, ISTC Paul Mackney, General Secretary, NATFHE Maureen O'Mara, NA TFHE, President Mark Serwotka, PCS, General Secretary Paul Gates, KFAT, General Secretary Doug Nicholls, CYWU, General Secretary Billy Hayes, CWU. General Secretary Joe Marino, BFAWU, General Secretary Kevin Creighton, AFALEC, President