WORKING conditions for a stevedoring company’s staff at Inverness harbour were “terrible”, a former employee claimed yesterday.
William MacDonald, 35, of Evan Barron Road, Inverness, said Scotlog Sales Ltd failed to provide him with adequate clothing to work during the Highland winter.
The forklift truck driver told James Fraser, his line manager, that he felt like an “ice block”, as he loaded a ship at the harbour in November 2007.
Mr MacDonald, who is claiming unfair constructive dismissal, told a tribunal at Inverness yesterday that Mr Fraser said: “If you don’t like it, you know where the gate is.” Mr MacDonald said he was initially grateful when he was given the opportunity to work for Scotlog in June 2007, but he was given no “personal protective equipment”, apart from boots and a high-visibility jacket.
The tribunal heard that on an “extremely cold” night later that year, Mr MacDonald asked Mr Fraser if he could leave work early.
Mr MacDonald said Mr Fraser threatened to sack him for making the request and he only went back to work after a Highland Haulage driver gave him waterproof trousers.
He said: “With no jacket or thermal gear, it was quite intolerable.”
Asked by his solicitor, Moray MacDonald, to describe working conditions at the harbour, Mr MacDonald said: “Terrible.”
He went on to claim he received no protective clothing until the following spring, when the company provided the staff with snow suits.
The tribunal was shown documents that revealed Mr MacDonald had twice signed a document to say he had adequate clothing, but he said he had been given no choice but to sign.
“That was the way it was at the harbour,” he added.
Mr MacDonald, who also worked at a Scotlog site at Morayhill, near Inverness, finally left the firm in April last year.
The tribunal, before Reg Christie, continues today.