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Course Manager Unfairly Dismissed

Course Manager Unfairly Dismissed: A former course manager has told Montrose Links golf management committee to “consider their positions” after emerging successful from an unfair dismissal fight.

Niall Bruce, 47, who spent 10 years in the post, was the victim of a restructuring exercise and said his “head was on the platter” before the process had even commenced.

Course Manager Unfairly Dismissed

Mr Bruce started as a greenkeeper with Montrose Golf Links Ltd (MGLL) in June 2002 before being promoted to first assistant in 2003 and course manager in 2008.

In January it was announced the jobs of course manager, first assistant and chargehand would no longer exist but would be replaced by roles for head greenkeeper, assistant greenkeeper and greenkeeper.

Mr Bruce said all three believed it would have been appropriate to simply slot them into these roles without having to go through a redundancy-type process and apply for the posts.

He was interviewed for the head greenkeeper job but was not successful and was made redundant, despite lodging an appeal that the redundancy process had been misapplied.

“I should have been matched to the new post of head greenkeeper without having to apply for the post,” he said.

“The roles of head greenkeeper and course manager are the same job and restructuring was merely a means to substitute a new face in place of myself.”

Mr Bruce was awarded £21,777 for unfair dismissal which included one years’ wage loss and two years’ loss of pension contributions following the conclusion of a two-day employment tribunal hearing in Dundee.

Judge Ian McFatridge said he could see “no real logical linkage” between the restructuring plan and the need to get rid of a course manager and replace this with the role of head greenkeeper “which seemed to have identical functions”.

He said he was not prepared to accept that MGLL “had overcome the initial hurdle of establishing a potentially fair reason for dismissal”.

Mr Bruce said: “It has become clear throughout this process however, that as already stated my head was on the platter before the process had even commenced.

“I am pleased by the employment tribunal outcome that I was unfairly dismissed as taking your former employer to court is a stressful business.

“I remain disappointed at how Montrose Golf Links Ltd (MGLL) acted towards me and hope in future they will learn to respect and value their staff.

“I feel that Angus Council who own the golf course land that MGLL operate from should consider how MGLL acts in its duties to its staff and perhaps they should consider a more active involvement in the company particularly with regard to human resources.

“In short I feel that the entire MGLL Committee who bear responsibility for my unfair dismissal should consider their positions carefully and if they remain as committee members will hopefully will act more professionally and honourably towards their staff in future.”

Mr Bruce told the tribunal he did not wish to be reinstated and has since taken up employment as a greenkeeper at St Andrews.

A spokesman for Montrose Golf Links said: “We are in the process of considering the judgement.”

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