By Amanda MacMillan
A BINMAN who was sacked by council bosses for slating them online during a bitter pay dispute has vowed to continue his legal fight – even if he loses an industrial tribunal against them.
Paul French, 50, who used the alias ‘Paul the Binman’ to post online comments and write letters against City of Edinburgh Council’s pay plans for bin staff, was sacked for gross misconduct.
Council chiefs said his comments had breached their code of conduct and may have undermined the organisation.
But Mr French – was represented himself at his jobs hearing this week – said even if he loses he will continue to speak out.
He said: “I think it (tribunal) went the way anything would go with anyone taking on the huge council with all its legal representation by themselves.
“But I think there is still quite a way to go if the tribunal doesn’t go my way.
“It’s not the end.
“I think I will be getting legal representation.”
He added: “All that matters to me now is bringing this matter to the public’s attention.
“The main aim was to get my job back – I have no thoughts about getting compensation.
“I just want to hold the council to account.”
“It has affected my family and has had an effect on my health.”
“It will also have an effect on my future employment as I will have to say that I was fired due to gross misconduct.
“I just find it strange that a bin man is putting the council into disrepute when you look at the actions of the council themselves just now.”
Mr French believes that he should have been allowed to exercise his right of freedom of speech while still a council employee.
He said: “I believe that as a tax payer I’m well within my rights to say what I think.
“They are still monitoring the blog – even now – even despite the fact that I am no longer employed by them.
“You have got to ask why they are monitoring blogs written by a member of the public.
“If they had any problems with the post all they had to do was press a button on the screen to get rid of it.
“They never even complained and never wrote a letter to the paper.”
Mr French is claiming sex discrimination as he believes that he was treated in a completely different way to his wife Janet.
Both he and his wife wrote to the newspaper on the same day and spoke out about alleged pay cuts.
But it was only his wife who received a reply from the council and was never punished.
He added: “If you have one member of staff who is being replied to on the same day that’s just a different level of treatment compared to what I got.”
City of Edinburgh Council defended their action and called on the hearing to take a dim view of Mr French’s actions in their deliberations.
The tribunal is to make its decision in writing at a later date.