A veteran Labour councillor is at the centre of an investigation after a trade union accused him of being aggressive to a vulnerable former council employee at an appeal hearing.
North Lanarkshire Council have confirmed that Cumbernauld’s Stephen Grant is at the centre of a probe following an alleged incident at Motherwell Civic Centre on November 23.
The councillor from Kildrum was acting as a convenor at a hearing against the dismissal of a 44-year-old Glasgow man, working in the care sector.
The dismissal was on the grounds of competency but the man, who is a lifelong Labour supporter,denies any suggestion of wrongdoing and insists he was bullied at work.
Top brass at the GMB Union then made an official complaint to NLC leader Councillor Jim McCabe
GMB boss Paul Grieve claims that the councillor was “abusive, bullish, discourteous and downright rude” to the former employee who has a number of health problems, including depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It is alleged that Councillor Grant intially refused to allow a break in proceedings which would have allowed a toilet break.
Councillor Grant insists he was initially unaware of why a break was requested but when he realised the break was to allow a visit to the toilet, he immediately agreed.
However, the subject of the hearing insists he was embarrased and humiliated by having to explain why he requested the break.
The result of the appeal hearing went unanimously against the man and he has told this newspaper that his mental state has drastically deteriorated as a result.
He claims that Councillor Grant was fully aware of his medical issues but wanted to publicly hound and undermine him in front of a hearing attended by 14 council staff.
The man refuses to let the matter go and wants the case to be reheard. And he is fully supported by union official James Smith who was at the hearing,
Wishaw man Mr Smith said: “The conduct of the convenor fell short of what I would expect from an elected member. He came across as arrogant, aggressive and a bully.”
ON Monday, Councillor Grant was summoned to a meeting with Council Leader Councillor Jim McCabe to discuss his behaviour.
Councillor Grant admitted: “It is true that the meeting was occasionally fractious and I had to raise my voice when the former employee and Mr Smith repeatedly sought to introduce evidence which was irrelevant or new evidence, something that is not permitted.
“I look forward to co-operating fully with the investigation.”
Councillor McCabe said: “Having received a complaint, I am now bound to look into it.”
When the claims first came to light, we asked if Councillor Grant would be suspended while the investigation took place.
However, Councillor McCabe has told us that the councillor remains in his post.
Even if cleared, this may not be the end of the matter as the alleged victim has already filed a complaint at the headquarters of the Scottish Labour Party in Glasgow.
He is also prepared to take legal action against Councillor Grant.