'What happened to me at Mail was immoral'

Wilson: "vindicated" by ruling

Former Daily Mail sub-editor Dave Wilson says he feels vindicated after a 12-year battle in winning his landmark legal case in the European Court of Human Rights this week.

In 1990, Wilson was denied a pay rise by the Mail for refusing to sign a contract preventing him from being represented by his union.

Thus began a long and bitter legal battle, involving Wilson and a dockworker in a similar situation, backed by the NUJ and the RMT union, which only ended this week in Strasbourg.

"Over a period of time, you tend to lose less important driving forces, like revenge or anger," said Wilson. "You are left with the feeling that what happened was immoral," he said.

The unions initially won the cases at industrial tribunals. The employers appealed and won at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The unions jointly appealed and won at the Court of Appeal. Then the employers appealed to the House of Lords and won.

The unions finally won their case against the Government at the European Court on Tuesday. It ruled: "It is the role of the state to ensure trade union members are not prevented or restrained from using their union to represent them in attempts to regulate their relations with their employers."

Wilson was dismissed by the Mail after 17 years with the company in 1995. His dismissal letter said he had been "openly critical of the company". A separate case for unfair dismissal was settled out of court.

Wilson, who now works at The Times, said the Mail had forced colleagues to choose between their livelihood and their personal convictions.

As part of the ruling, the UK Government must pay Wilson e7,730 (£4,965) in damages and money towards the legal costs of the unions.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: "I call on Lord Rothermere, the hereditary billionaire, who owns the Mail through a tax haven in Bermuda, to pay Dave Wilson’s damages out of his own pocket."

The Mail declined to comment.

By Martin McNamara

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