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Man With Down's Syndrome Sacked And Told To Work For Free Given Job Back After Backlash

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Man With Down's Syndrome Sacked And Told To Work For Free Given Job Back After Backlash

A leisure centre worker with Down's syndrome has been reinstated to his £30-per-week job after being told that they couldn't keep him on, but he could work for them for free if he wanted.

This decision was made after 17 years of service to the company. Ronnie was also told that there would be no redundancy or compensation paid to him.

The powers that be at the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Greenock, Inverclyde said that they couldn't afford to pay the wages of 47-year-old Ronnie Hawthorn, but said that he could keep on doing his cleaning job for free if he really wanted to.

They sweetened the deal by saying that he could continue to attend staff nights out with his former colleagues. This caused a pretty significant backlash from the public, according to the Daily Record.

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But management have now done a U-turn, saying it was a 'misunderstanding'.

Credit: The Daily Record
Credit: The Daily Record

The chief executive of Inverclyde Leisure, which operates the Greenock Leisure Centre and several others, told the Daily Record: "Ronnie is a respected and well thought of employee at Waterfront Leisure Centre.

"He prides himself on his role and does a great job. We apologise to Ronnie and his parents for the confusion, which came about after the recent decentralisation of our cleaners.

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"They are now utilised across all areas... rather than individual areas, to make the best use of our resources and provide the best possible standards for our customers.

"All cleaning staff, including Ronnie, were offered positions but Ronnie was keen to continue working the same shifts and stay on poolside.

"We have worked closely with Ronnie and his parents to find a solution and are delighted that he is going to continue working in a paid role at the Waterfront Leisure Centre."

This news came as a great relief to Ronnie and his colleagues. He was pictured giving the thumbs up upon receiving the news that he was not losing his job.

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His parents were also made up with the decision. His dad, also called Ronnie, said: "He loves working alongside his colleagues and being part of the team at poolside.

"Ronnie looks forward to going to work and contributing within the community.

"He also enjoys going to staff nights out and having a pint with his colleagues."

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The campaign to get Ronnie reinstated was started by members of the public who were outraged at the decision.

At the time of the decision being announced, Disability Rights UK chief executive Kamran Mallick said: "This a shocking case. It's a prime example of how disabled people are treated differently. The lack of equality is astonishing.

"I can't imagine the employer behaving this way to other non- ­disabled staff. There has been no due process, no consultation, no effort to redeploy this member of staff."

Luckily for everyone involved, a solution has been found.

Featured Image Credit: The Daily Record

Topics: Work, UK News, Down's Syndrome, Scotland, Sacked

Tom Wood
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