Union's top award for ex-newsreader

LAURIE Mayer was due to be presented with a top gong by his union today for whistle blowing on the BBC.Mr Mayer, who now lives in Woolverstone, was expected to receive a gold badge from the National Union of Journalists at the annual delegates meeting in Scarborough.

LAURIE Mayer was due to be presented with a top gong by his union today for whistle blowing on the BBC.

Mr Mayer, who now lives in Woolverstone, was expected to receive a gold badge from the National Union of Journalists at the annual delegates meeting in Scarborough.

The former newsreader left the BBC in 2002 amid claims of bullying at BBC South East.

He helped to protect colleagues at the newly formed station and claimed unfair dismissal upon his departure.

Despite losing the case and a subsequent appeal in 2004, the employment tribunal was critical of management at BBC South East.

In his speech to delegates today 58-year-old Mr Mayer was expected to further criticise his employer and thank the union for their support.

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His said: "Without the union's unstinting support in funding the legal action and supporting me personally it would never have been possible to expose what the tribunal called 'a culture of bullying and harassment' at the BBC in Tunbridge Wells.

"A culture that referred to me as a 'troublemaker' in internal BBC memos and then 'sought to blacken by name.' Outrageous behaviour by any standards but especially from a public funded body and otherwise world-class organisation.

"This award will help draw a line under the wretched episode that brought an abrupt and premature end to a career I loved. Whistle blowing is, after all, the ultimate job disqualification. For that reason I hope no one else will have to receive a gold badge for exposing bullying at the BBC or anywhere else."

The gold badge is the top honour bestowed on NUJ members and is presented to only a handful of journalists.

Mr Mayer said he was honoured to receive the award and said: "nothing is more valuable than the good opinion of one's peers."

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