Golf secretary wins tribunal

PUBLISHED: 11:53 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 17:11 11 May 2010

A GOLF club secretary who made £37,000 of savings was sacked to save even more money, an employment tribunal has been told. But James Beech blamed a clash of personalities and not financial necessity for the loss of his post at Royston Golf Club. The tr

A GOLF club secretary who made £37,000 of savings was sacked to save even more money, an employment tribunal has been told. But James Beech blamed a clash of personalities and not financial necessity for the loss of his post at Royston Golf Club. The tribunal upheld his claim of unfair dismissal, and awarded Mr Beech, of High Street, Royston, compensation totalling £6,450. An announcement in July last year that he was being made redundant came with no prior warning, Mr Beech told the hearing at Bury St Edmunds. He said: "I was not consulted about the alleged redundancy, but was presented with a fait accompli." Mr Beech said he was not offered the post of bar manager at £23,000-a-year which was open following the retirement of the previous post holder. Peter Long, former treasurer of Royston Golf Club, said that was because Mr Beech did not have the necessary experience and the job could have conflicted with him being a part-owner of a pub in Royston. During his five-year term as managing secretary at the club, Mr Beech said he had achieved considerable cost savings and also had success in recruiting new members, which was a key part of his role. When he left he was earning £37,500-a-year and had enjoyed annual salary rises. But he said: "I felt that some members of the board wanted to get rid of me because I did not fit in with their idea of what a club secretary should be." Mr Beech said there had been no indication from the board that the club was facing serious financial problems or that radical measures were needed. Last May it appeared the club was in profit by as much as £8,000, but just five weeks later that had changed to a loss of more than £20,000, said Mr Beech. The decision to make Mr Beech redundant had been made after a careful examination of the club's finances in the face of declining membership and income, said golf club chairman David Musgrave. Because most of the club's outgoings were on fixed costs, the only scope for making savings was from salaries. Of the nine directors, eight had voted in favour of ending the post occupied by Mr Beech with his work being distributed among other staff, said Mr Musgrave. He denied that the decision had been influenced by a clash of personalities or that if consultation had taken place it would have made any difference, as no other post was available. There had never been any cause for complaint about Mr Beech's work, added Mr Musgrave. Former chairman Graham Toby told the tribunal that he could not understand the circumstances leading up to Mr Beech losing his job. "I find this quite difficult to comprehend," said Mr Toby. "There had been no suggestion prior to that time that the club was in any sort of financial difficulties and that such difficulties were predicted to be of long duration." Mr Toby said he could not understand why the club had decided to terminate the employment of a person responsible for recruiting new members while, in his view, cuts could have been achieved elsewhere.

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