Bin Lorry Driver's Absences Scrutinised
14 August 2015, 18:58
The former manager of bin lorry driver Harry Clarke denied giving him a “clean bill of health and getting him out the door”, a fatal accident inquiry heard.
Operations manager at First Bus Francis McCann gave evidence again yesterday afternoon for a second day.
The inquiry heard he completed an exit form for Mr Clarke, on December 2010 the same day he allegedly committed gross misconduct by running early at several stops, including 16 minutes at one of them.
It was heard that if a driver runs five or more minutes early it results in summary dismissal.
The inquiry was told that employee exit forms are retained after an employee leaves in case they want to return for a job.
Mr McCann claimed that the employee's file is used to write a reference if it is requested, using doctors notes and attendance records, not the exit form.
In evidence Mr McCann claimed he filled in the exit form, on December 28, 2010, documenting no outstanding issues with Mr Clarke before he was aware of the alleged incidents.
Peter Gray QC, representing Glasgow City Council, put to him that he was lying, but he denied that.
Mr Gray put to him 'Your normal practice was to complete employee exit forms at the end of the week.
It just so happened on this occasion you completed this form midweek, it just so happened it coincided with an occasion when Mr Clarke is about to be dismissed for gross misconduct.
So you fill in the form giving him a clean bill of heath and get him out the door.
Mr McCann replied 'No'
It was also suggested to the First Bus employee that “anyone looking at this form would be utterly mislead” but he also denied that.
Mr Gray continued 'Anyone receiving requests for a reference relying on that employee exit form would give a reference which is positive, a clean bill of health in all respects.'
The witness answered 'I already told you, we wouldn’t use the exit form.
Mr McCann accepted that according to the form he completed for Mr Clarke it appeared that there were no problems with attendance, conduct, early running or customer complaints.
He told the inquiry that all issues, including a final written warning in November 2009, had “expired” by the the time the form was completed..
Mr Gray asked: “I’m suggesting your interpretation is an attempt to cover your back because you have filled in a form just going tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Mr McCann replied 'That's incorrect.'
The inquiry heard that Mr Clarke was invited to a disciplinary hearing on December 31 for the alleged early running on his last day at work, but never attended.
Mr McCann also claimed he couldn't remember having a conversation with Mr Clarke in December 2010 or January 2011 telling him to contact Daryl Turner in HR for a reference.
He told the inquiry he wouldn't have given Mr Turner's name and said Mr Clarke would need to go to an HR manager.
The inquiry before sheriff John Beckett QC continues.