When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
‘Abuse against clergy is rife’ in Lancashire
WORKPLACE bullying is plaguing Lancashire churches according to a union.
The union Unite says priests of all denominations in the area are being picked on by superiors or parishioners.
The union has set up a hotline where the clergy can report abuse, and says it deals with up to 150 cases a year.
Methodist minister and Unite representative Rev Terry Young, who preaches in Darwen, said many cases were taking place locally.
Speaking on a radio show at the weekend he said the problem was rife. He said: “I get calls every week from clergy and rabbis of all denominations. We have cases locally which are very serious indeed.
“There was someone who was sexually discriminated against but they had no real come back under employment laws.”
Unite, which has 2,500 faith worker members, has consistently said that the Church of England needs to introduce the full range of employment rights for its entire clergy under the provisions of Section 23 of the 1999 Employment Relations Act.
The union says priests are vulnerable, because they are classed as self-employed office holders, which means they are exempt from the protection offered by employment law. This means they cannot claim unfair dismissal, or seek protection under health and safety laws.
Parishioners can also carry out the bullying, according to Unite. The union has cited the case of a priest in rural Worcestershire who claims he was driven out by a campaign of hate.
Rev Young said he could not give local examples but that similar events had been taking place “close to home”.
Unite is lobbying for the government to change the law to give priests greater protection.
Comments are closed on this article.