On 8th June 2022 in a secret council meeting, Labour Councillor Steve Albon is said, by several sources who were there, to have made a long cringeworthy oration full of praise for the disgraced former TDC Chief Executive, Madeline Homer, and to have happily voted with most other Labour, Tory and Green councillors to award her severance package of £327,000. This despite him and his spinless colleague councillors being fully aware of reports which concluded that Homer and her Corporate Director lover, Gavin Waite, were serial workplace bullies.
Fast forward to 13th July 2023. In a secret council meeting, Labour Councillor Steve Albon is said, by several sources who were there, to have expressed, in no uncertain terms, his opposition to paying judicially mediated compensation of £225,000 to a former council employee who was reported to be a victim of bullying by Homer and Waite.
Advice from council officers was, my sources tell me, that the £225,000 payment would avoid a costly Employment Tribunal in which its chances of winning were extremely low. In other words the bullying was, on the balance of probabilities, likely to be proven and was also likely to have been of a very serious nature and a payoff now would be cheaper than going to the Tribunal.
So splicing the two secret meetings together, we have the vomit inducing spectacle of a senior Labour Councillor, supporting a £327,000 payoff for said to be workplace bully Madeline Homer, whilst speaking out against a compensation payment to one of her victims who, supported by a trade union, had been brave enough to stand up against the bullies by taking them to an Employment Tribunal. This is my idea of a video nasty.
Talking of trade unions, Councillor Steve Albon was, whilst working at TDC as a well remunerated planning enforcement officer, also the leader of the council branch of Unison. His role in this elevated position was to represent the interests of several hundred Unison members who worked for the council. This included negotiating their terms conditions of employment and defending their workplace rights such as supporting members against workplace bullying. Sadly a far too frequent occurrence at TDC.
We are often, and rightly, reminded that the trade union movement gave birth to the Labour Party. Despite its current right-wing leader, Keir Starmer, the party still retains some of the vestiges of these close links, especially its oft repeated commitment to dignity at work.
Albon is a very senior Labour councillor. He is a member of TDC’s all-powerful cabinet and is also the Chair of Ramsgate Town Council. He is widely rumored to be lining himself up to be selected as a future Labour Kent County Councillor (KCC) for Ramsgate, once the party elbows aside its current Ramsgate KCC councillor, Karen Constantine of lushgsate infamy.
It would be reasonable to assume that someone of such seniority within his Party, who ambitiously aspires to even greater things, would be an exemplar of Labour’s core beliefs and values, especially beliefs and values in equality, inclusiveness, fairness and dignity in the workplace but no!
Like a coward in the imaged safety of secret meetings he exposes what I believe to be his true colours: a generous friend of bullying bosses and a hypocritical, back-stabbing, victim blaming, enemy of abused workers, who has the gall to publicly masquerade as a trade unionist and socialist.
His actions, which all of his Labour councillor colleagues would, if conscious, or wired up to artificial intelligence terminals, have witnessed, are not the values of the Party. Nor are they the values of a genuine trade unionist, or anyone with a modicum of fairness and decency.
Although uttered behind closed doors Albon’s comments should be sufficient to have him expelled from the Labour Party for bringing the organization into disrepute. But knowing the muppets who have the audacity to describe themselves as Thanet Labour councillors nothing will happen, because what little thinking they are capable of doing, is probably identical to that of Albon.
Some final observations. Albon is a member of the councils Investigation and Disciplinary Sub-Committee and the Disciplinary Appeals Sub-Committee. This means that he exercises significant influence over processes relating to staffing matters. How is possible that someone who through their own reported utterances, appears to favour the interests of bullying bosses over those of less powerful staff, could be appointed to such sensitive positions where neutrality is an essential pre-requisite?
This is something that council Leader Rick Everitt might be able to explain. After all, it is he who uses his power as the boss of the Labour Group of councillors to appoint to TDCs Cabinet and committees. Surely, even someone not noted for their intellectual capacity, would have noticed immediately that to appoint Albon to oversee sensitive staffing matters, was a conflict of interest the size of the Great Wall of China. A conflict which is likely to undermine the trust and confidence of council staff in getting a fair deal from their Labour councillor employers, and a conflict which will inevitability store up serious industrial relations trouble for the future
Last but not least, were I TDCs Labour Leader and had had to decide how much compensation a victim of Homer’s bullying should get my starting point would the same as Homer got for doing the bullying £327,000!
I would then add to this as a gesture of trade union and socialist solidarity 50% of the allowances paid to TDCs 30 Labour councillors - £60,000, and would also instruct council officers to seek legal advice about recovering the £327,000 bullying bonus paid to Homer by the council.
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