Town crier receives pay-out after being silenced

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A TOWN crier unfairly dismissed from his job has been awarded just £570 in compensation – but has not been given his job back.

Knaresborough Town Council had denied that Simon Shaw was an employee, saying he was a volunteer paid an annual fee of £150.

But earlier this year an employment tribunal ruled he was an employee and should have been entitled to wages. A month later the council admitted he had been unfairly dismissed.

Yesterday tribunal judge John Hepworth ruled that the town council and chamber of trade should pay Mr Shaw £570, which included some wages and compensation for loss of employment.

Mr Hepworth said it was clear there was, and still is, a “significant amount of tension” between the parties.

Mr Shaw had wanted to be reinstated but the judge refused, saying that the relationship between the parties had irrevocably broken down and that this was partly due to Mr Shaw.

He was suspended by the town council in August last year but was reinstated in October after an independent investigation ruled that he should not have faced disciplinary action.

The town council did not go public with the reasons for his suspension but Mr Shaw revealed that some complaints had been made, which he dismissed as “tittle tattle” and malicious.

The row between Mr Shaw and his supporters and the town council had become increasingly acrimonious.

Last night Mr Shaw said he was happy that he had cleared his name.

He hinted that he might continue working as an independent town crier.

He and others are questioning why the council chose to suspend him in the first place – and how much the saga has cost taxpayers.

Knaresborough town councillor Andy Wright is considering complaining about the town council’s decision-making on Mr Shaw’s suspension, yesterday claiming it was “procedurally wrong and potentially illegal”.