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Union bosses: Fat Cats in sheep's clothing

No luck on the lottery? Consider getting a job with the MSF (Manufacturing, Science and Finance union). Then all you have to do is blow the whistle on some shady goings on and get unfairly dismissed before walking off with a six figure payment.

When Marcia Solomon, a secretarial assistant, saw £35,000 worth of cheques made out to Roger Lyons (general secretary) and Nelson Mendes (head of finance) from a supposedly defunct bank account containing £160,000, she was sacked for gross misconduct. She settled out of court for £140,000. Her original allegations were investigated by assistant general secretary, John Chowcat but he was dismissed, also for gross misconduct, after uncovering a string of false expense claims made by Lyons. Chowcat was paid off with another £250,000 of MSF members' money.

Next to walk was north Thames regional officer, Howell John, who allegedly leaked information on Lyons' lavish lifestyle. To avoid their corrupt manoeuvrings being aired at another tribunal, Lyons & co. authorised another £200,000 pay off plus car. With around £750,000 already spent on covering Lyons' arse, there are calls for him to resign and for an independent forensic investigation of the union's books. Another tribunal is looming with the threat of more revelations. This time it involves Bryan Keegan, Lyons' former chauffeur, sacked after claiming £7,000 in back overtime payment. This indicates Lyons' true mentality - begrudging rightfully earned wages, yet spending over 100 times that amount in trying to cover his own tracks. For a union that claims to defend whistleblowers, the treatment of their own whistleblowers is disgraceful. Still, six-figure settlements soften the blow somewhat.

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