A LIBRARIAN employed by Wigan Council was suspended from her job after she publicly criticised a Chinese-owned firm, Politicalite can exclusively reveal.
Proud Englishwoman Maureen Obern, who worked at Leigh Library and is employed by the Labour-run Wigan Council claims that she was suspended from her job for speaking publicly about the local Council giving a redevelopment contract to a Chinese state-owned firm.
A defiant Mrs Obern told Politicalite: “I live in Wigan and work at Leigh Library as an employee of Wigan Council.”
“Last year the council put out a tender to redevelop a large shopping centre in Wigan called the Galleries, there were 4 potential developers and three were chosen to put bids in.”
“The one chosen was a joint venture between Cityheart and Chinese state owned BCEGI. They have done a lot of redevelopment work in the North West.”
“I am concerned that the Chinese Communist Party are being allowed to invest so much in our country and definitely do not want them having a financial stake in my own town .”
“I think ethical considerations should be taken into account in the procurement process, and this was obviously not the case when selecting this company.”
“The Chinese regime has an awful record on human rights especially in their present treatment of the Uighur people and the citizens of Hong Kong.”
Maureen added: “I raised my concerns on a few occasions during large staff zoom and information meetings held through lockdown.”
“I was told by David Molyneux head of the council and Alison Mackenzie Folan Chief Exec of the council that it was considered the best deal and my concerns about human rights were in my opinion brushed aside.”
“Shortly after I raised my concerns internally I was asked to attend an investigatory meeting.”
“Apparently there had been an anonymous complaint that I had voiced my concerns on a local Facebook page discussing the Galleries development.”
“I admit I had, I feel very strongly about human rights and am prepared to speak out although in my contract it does state I must not criticise the council on social media.”
“I am willing to lose my job over this but I will not be silenced and plan to hold a protest in Wigan Town Centre outside the Galleries after lockdown.”
“My MP Lisa Nandy has often spoken out about China and their treatment of the Uighur people and the citizens of Hong Kong.”
“I first contacted her in December 2020. She wrote to the council with her reservations about the contract but these concerns strangely did not include Human Rights issues, just concerns about ownership and security.”
” I have asked her to make a public statement on this three times but have had no response.”
“The MP for Leigh has contacted me after hearing I have been suspended but I haven’t heard from Lisa Nandy. I am sending you some background links relevant to the issue of the Galleries.”
UKIP slammed the suspension, telling Politicalite: “It is an absolute disgrace that any action has been taken against this lady and a serious failure by Lisa Nandy in failing to support her.”
Politicalite reached out to Wigan Council for comment but received no reply at the time of publication.
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