KEIGHLEY Town Council has been ordered to pay £63,266 to its former town clerk following her successful claim for wrongful and unfair dismissal.

Safia Kauser was awarded £51,147 last week by a tribunal which included £44,022 to compensate her for a year’s lost salary, and £7,125 costs.

This was in addition to £12,119 awarded on April 5, as part of the Leeds Employment Tribunal’s initial judgement, to cover wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and outstanding holiday pay.

At the April hearing, an employment judge ruled on a claim brought by Ms Kauser, who was Keighley town clerk until her departure from the town council in March last year.

The judgement stated that the council unfairly dismissed Ms Kauser, and wrongfully dismissed her.

The judgement added: “The claimant was not culpable of any conduct in respect of which it is just or equitable to reduce either the basic or the compensatory award.”

Responding to the latest judgement, Ms Kauser said: “No amount of money can compensate for the loss of a challenging job that I was proud to be doing for my hometown or the deep distress that the council put me through.

“I helped restore the council’s reputation however I did not envisage that I would be deliberately removed from office.

“I expect that Keighley Town Council may not learn their lessons. After over 10 years’ service, and working with three different councils, I witnessed infighting and incompetence.

“It is clear that the organisation cannot continue to exist in its current framework and I will continue to do all I can to influence the future Keighley Town Council.”

Keighley Town Council this week said it was disappointed with the outcome of the tribunal, but said Ms Kauser would be paid as required.

The council’s official statement said: “Throughout the hearing and as far back as a year ago Ms Kauser was offered a substantial amount to settle out of court.

“This would have meant that there would be no tribunal and she would have incurred no costs. Ms Kauser has refused all attempts to settle this matter without going to an employment tribunal.

“In addition to the monies paid already the remedy hearing was to ensure that there was no detrimental effect on Ms Kauser’s pension entitlement, not an increase in the award she received at the original hearing.

“Her costs whatever they may be were not met in their entirety by the council, in fact we paid roughly a third of her claim. The tribunal judge declined the request from Ms Kauser for the council to make a public apology.”

In response to the council statement, Ms Kauser said that before the April hearing the council had refused to take part in either ACAS arbitration or Judicial Mediation.

She said the council had made initial cash offers of £5,000 and £10,000 which did not reflect her loss of earnings.

Since May Ms Kauser has worked as a town clerk and a Responsible Financial Officer for a neighbouring authority, and in addition recently became an Interim Town Clerk for another council.