Thursday, 14 February 2013

Mark Brook's Wife Stranded in Doha!

THE dismissal of Mark Brooks by Westmill Foods, last month (see 'Westmill Foods' Wedding Present!' post on 1st, Feb. 2013), may yet turn out much wider ramifications given the recent crisis regarding horse meat in burgers and raids by the Food standards Agency on a slaughter house in Todmorden.  Only the other day a Unite shop steward in the Bury Branch at Bury MBC, who had been at the branch meeting last Thursday at which Mark Brooks' case was discussed, pointed out that though Mark had been disciplined for making a mistake in the production process he had alleged that there was a fault in the system itself which made the error possible.   At present management seems reluctant to consider the possibility of a flaw in the system of production itself, which might in future lead to a more serious situation than some lamination coming apart in the artwork on some long-grain rice.

Meanwhile, as I write this, more tragedy unfolds for Mark Brooks' young wife, Puy, who while returning to Thailand missed her connecting flight at Doha in Qatar on Tuesday night and has been stranded in the airport, where the airport workers distressed by her plight have been giving her drinks and cigarettes.  Today, having missed several outgoing flights to Bangkok as she hadn't the money to pay a bribe, Mark using his credit card arranged her a flight to Oman from where she hopes to fly to Bangkok later tonight. 

Whether she will be allowed a visa to return to England to be with her husband of two weeks will depend upon Mark's job situation in the next few months.  The Border Agency has very strict rules regarding the awarding of visas to foreign spouses.  This matter was discussed at Tameside Trade Union Council last Tuesday, and the President, Derek Pattison, said the case of Mark Brooks would only become an issue for the Trades Council if his wife had problems with the Border Agency, the possibility that Mark Brooks was unfairly dismissed by Westmill Foods was purely a matter for his union, Unite.

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