Salute the four whistleblowers who had sales and marketing jobs with Glaxo in the US and have suffered unemployment for almost ten years since they first raised these concerns with the company.
This cartoon comes from the blog of David Hencke, an investigative journalist and writer, whose awards include being named as Journalist of the Year for his investigation uncovering the “Cash-for-questions affair” and the role played by Ian Greer Associates, one of the country’s biggest lobbying companies. He also won Scoop of the Year’ for the story that caused the first resignation of Peter Mandelson and now works for Exaro news and as the Westminster correspondent for Tribune.
In a recent blog entry he reports that buried in the government’s new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (Clause 14) is a plan to limit people with employment contract disputes using the whistleblowers law:
“Think for one second. A company gets a complaint from a whistleblower about a nefarious practice. What better way to frighten a whistleblower than by going to the courts claiming this is not in the public interest and demanding a hearing before a judge. The company can then rubbish the whistleblower using the absolute privilege afforded by court hearings for maximum publicity by claiming the complainer is a bad worker, in breach of contracts etc – damaging the whistleblower’s reputation.”
He adds that there could be another agenda:
“The government’s fast track privatisation programme for public services has already led to whistleblowers revealing bad practice as shown in the recent private hearing of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. There I am told two Tory MPs put pressure on the committee not to hear in public whistleblowers’ allegations about bad practice in A4e, the private work provider, which has £200m of Department of Work and Pensions contracts.
“The next day the Daily Telegraph leaked some of their evidence and Chris Grayling, the minister for work but, one suspects, sympathetic to A4e, used an appearance on BBC Newsnight to cast doubt on the motives of the whistle blowers.
We hope that many will support his call to back the campaign by Cathy James, chief executive at Public Concern at Work – http://www.pcaw.org.uk to stop this piecemeal change.
At the very least the clause should be redrafted to define what should be excluded as a personal contract rather than submitting everything to a public interest test.