Gavin Drake has a detailed report in today’s Church Times Judgment by employment tribunal upholds clergy office-holder status. Earlier reports linked from here.
…The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, also welcomed the ruling. “Clergy themselves have repeatedly said that they do not see themselves as employees, and do not wish to be seen as such. This case has shown that Church of England vicars are not subject to any employment contract, but are free to exercise their ministry as they see best within the framework provided by the law of the land,” he said.
“We hope that Mr Sharpe and Unite will respect this judgment so that we can all draw a line under this.”
Mr Sharpe was represented throughout his dispute by the clergy section of the trade union Unite. The union’s national officer for its community, youth workers, and not-for-profit sector said: “We are very disappointed with the judgment. We will be discussing the implications with Mark Sharpe, and no further statement will be issued until we’ve had those discussions.”
In 2009, Unite called for the resignation of the Bishops of Worcester and Dudley for “presiding over a culture of neglect and bullying” in the diocese, and demanded intervention by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
This week, Bishop Inge said: “When I saw Unite’s claims, I asked the chair of the House of Clergy to conduct an investigation with the clergy of the diocese. He convened a small group, who sent an anonymous questionnaire to the clergy.
“They found there was absolutely no truth in this allegation. Not one person mentioned a culture of bullying in the diocese in the way alleged by Unite.”
There is a further report by Gavin Drake in the paper Clergy can join new association but this is subscriber-only until next Friday.
THE country’s largest union, Unite, announced the launch of the Church of England Clergy Association (CECA) on Monday. Despite four years of talks with the House of Clergy, however, it has received only a cautious welcome…
Another report on the Sharpe case can be found here.