Former Public Broadcasting Services CEO John Bundy has been awarded over €226,000 in compensation after winning an unfair dismissal claim against the state broadcaster.
Bundy had taken his grievance before the Industrial Tribunal, claiming that he had only learnt about the unanimous vote of no confidence, taken against him at a directors’ meeting one year into his five-year contract as CEO, through media reports.
Although his termination letter subsequently listed a number of alleged shortcomings, an internal investigation conducted by private firm RSM was only kick-started when the vote of no confidence had been taken.
When delivering judgment on Tuesday, Tribunal chairperson Doreen Parnis stated that the “greatest anomaly” stemmed from the fact that the employee had never been given the chance of facing proper disciplinary proceedings, but had been fired on the basis of a vote of no confidence, taken two months before an internal investigation had even started.
The tribunal could not help but note various “anomalies” in the events leading to Bundy’s dismissal.
Although the decision appeared to pivot upon the cardinal issue linked to the manner in which Bundy had gone about leasing vehicles to replace the ageing fleet at PBS, the tribunal was “not convinced” that that was the cause for dismissal.
Moreover, Bundy had “shouldered the shortcomings of various persons”, including high-ranking officials who had implemented an “administrative irregularity”, as well as a lack of action by the company directors.
The procurement issue, namely through a system of quotations instead of by tender, had not even been mentioned during the August 16, 2017 meeting, when the board of directors was reconvened at the peak of summer “when Malta was practically at a standstill” and after it had been dissolved after the election announcement.
That was the meeting at which the vote of no confidence had been taken.
The RSM report had also noted a number of inconsistencies in the testimonies of those questioned, with one representative telling the tribunal that she could not “make out who was telling the truth”.
In light of all considerations, the tribunal granted the applicant €226,488.98 in compensation for the unfair dismissal, based on his contract of employment, and payable by PBS within one month.
Lawyers Matthew Brincat and Anthony Cremona assisted Bundy.