RNLI ‘all at sea’ over sackings: claim
Whistleblower speaks out following sackings along the coast
The RNLI has come under fire for its handling of recent sackings at Whitby and Scarborough lifeboat stations.
The RNLI has come under fire for their handling of recent sackings at Whitby and Scarborough lifeboat stations.
A source who worked for the charity for decades in important roles, but did not wish to be named, has slammed the RNLI after recent incidents to have hit the headlines.
Earlier this month, two Whitby crew members were stood down over what the charity said was “the production of inappropriate material of a sexual nature”.
Four other crew members also quit following the sackings.
It followed on from the sacking of Scarborough coxswain Tom Clark for leading what the RNLI called an “unauthorised training exercise”. Mr Clark had more than 30 years service and had been awarded an MBE for his work with the charity.
Now, a source has told this paper that people coming through into management positions “do not understand the ethos, they do not understand the camaraderie and that’s what’s behind the situations that are arising now.
“What really hurts is to see the RNLI’s good name being dragged through the mud. Everybody around the coast will be wondering what is going on and why is it happening this way? I think it’s the inexperience of the managers.”
Responding to the claims, an RNLI spokesperson said: “Like all modern emergency services, the RNLI must adhere to the very highest standards to ensure the safety of our crew, our partners and those we rescue. To enable us to do this, some change is inevitable – we cannot operate in the same way we did 30 or 40 years ago, when the world was a very different place. Some of this change has been implemented to protect our volunteer crews and to make sure they have the very best training, equipment, assurance and the day-to-day support essential to providing a 24/7 lifesaving service. Other change has been necessary because of the greater demands and scrutiny being placed on charities.”
They added: “Many of our coastal staff team started their RNLI careers as volunteer crew or lifeguards – they understand just how important camaraderie is to a successful lifeboat crew. However, we are also duty bound to make sure a lifeboat station is a welcoming and inclusive environment where all volunteers, staff and visitors feel safe and are treated with respect.
“By tackling any behaviour which risks lives or risks the reputation of our charity, we are standing up for the thousands of dedicated RNLI volunteers who are committed to doing the right thing as they operate our 238 lifeboat stations around the clock.”
RNLI chief executive Paul Boissier has also broken his silence over the recent ontroversies. He said: “When you hear about something and are frustrated that there is not lots of information available, please take a moment to think about why we may need to be silent, is it because there are legal consequences for those involved? Is it because it would be wrong to share news that is far more sensitive than meets the eye? We do not take the decision to discipline an employee, stand a crew member down or take a boat off service lightly but sometimes we have to do it to ensure the safety of our people, and those we are here to serve, and to protect the reputation of the RNLI.”