Express refuses to reinstate 'unfairly' dismissed sub

Aberdeen Journals are refusing to reinstate former Evening Express subeditor Eugenie Verney who won an employment tribunal case for unfair dismissal in July.

The newspaper company’s appeal against the tribunal ruling has been dismissed.

Now the NUJ, which is acting for Verney, will go to another tribunal to argue the case for reinstatement or financial compensation. She has been out of work for 17 months.

Verney, 49, the newspaper’s only part-time sub-editor, claimed she was made redundant in May 2002 because she was chairwoman of the Grampian branch of the NUJ.

In a written judgement, the tribunal found in her favour and ruled she be reinstated, although it found no evidence of discrimination.

Verney’s lawyer, David Stevenson, pointed out: “The law cannot enforce a reinstatement, but there would be a financial penalty if there was none.”

During the tribunal hearing, the panel was told Aberdeen Journals dropped a regional edition due to a downturn in the industry, so freeing up two reporters and a sub-editor.

The reporters were transferred to sister newspaper the Press and Journal, and Verney was selected to go after receiving a low score in an assessment of the newspaper’s sub-editors.

The management said she had not been marked down because she worked part-time or was involved in trade union activities. The NUJ believed otherwise.

Evening Express editor Donald Martin doubted employer-employee relations could be restored.

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