British Gas sacked me while I was lying in a hospital bed’: Heart patient was visited by bosses so they could hand him redundancy notice
- Nigel Winkley made redundant in front of other patients at hospital
- News came just five days after he had major operation following heart attack
- Suffered bout of angina blamed on stress after the redundancy
- Mr Winkley could not talk because he was ‘so shocked and distressed
Recovering in hospital from a heart operation, Nigel Winkley assumed the visit from two of his bosses was to bring him good wishes.
Instead, the pair delivered a PowerPoint presentation that ended with bombshell news…he was sacked.The extraordinary scene took place in front of fellow patients.The 40-year-old was too distressed to respond and it was left to his wife Vicky, 34, to order the suited pair off the premises.Just five days earlier the father of one underwent major surgery after a heart attack. Following the redundancy incident he suffered a bout of angina blamed on stress.Mrs Winkley, who owns a pre-school, said the presentation had left her and her husband in shock. ‘What sort of idiots flounce into a hospital to deliver that sort of news to someone who’s has just had heart surgery?’ she added.
‘It’s a complete disgrace. I told them I was not interested in my husband losing his job, because I was more worried that he was going to make it through the night. Nigel had been seriously unwell and could have died.
‘I hadn’t slept, thinking I was about to be widowed. Then these two decide to come to the hospital to deliver a terrible bombshell. I couldn’t believe their audacity.’
Mr Winkley started experiencing chest pains in March and was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, where he had the heart operation.
He had worked as an inspector for British Gas for three years after it bought out his former employer Hillserve Limited.
‘I loved it and could count the days I took off on one hand,’ he said. ‘I was so shocked and distressed by their behaviour I couldn’t talk. It was completely out of the blue.’
His wife added: ‘We had no idea that they were making redundancies. I had been ringing his office every day to give them an update on his health.
‘We had even received a get well soon card signed by all his colleagues, so we were just in shock. They’ve let him down. Nigel was a grafter and was never sick.’
Following the incident, Mrs Winkley made a formal complaint to British Gas and the company offered her husband a different position, which she said was too physical for his poor health.
As a result her husband is working nights at a supermarket where he earns £18,000 compared with his previous salary of £25,000.
A British Gas spokesman said: ‘We are very sorry that Mr and Mrs Winkley are unhappy with the way we communicated with them.
‘Our intentions have always been to ensure Mr Winkley was provided with the information fully and quickly, and to ensure he didn’t receive the details from colleagues or friends.
‘We met with Mr and Mrs Winkley recently to add
ress their concerns and have apologised that the news of the site closure was communicated to them in a public place.
‘We are reviewing this case to make sure lessons are learnt for the future.’