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Police investigate alleged bribery at Swansea University



POLICE have carried out searches at eight addresses in south Wales and Kent as part of a “complex” investigation into alleged bribery offences following a complaint by Swansea University.

Officers from the regional organised crime unit seized documents and electronic equipment during the raids, which police said related to a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office made by the university in late 2018.

A statement from South Wales police said: “Officers from Tarian, the regional organised crime unit for southern Wales, have this morning executed a number of warrants as part of an investigation into alleged bribery offences.

“Eight addresses in Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Kent are being searched with the assistance of colleagues from South Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Kent police forces. The enforcement action was carried out in relation to a complaint made by Swansea University to the Serious Fraud Office in late 2018, which was subsequently referred to police.

“No arrests have been made during the searches, however a number of documents and electronic equipment have been seized. The investigation is complex and remains ongoing.”

A university spokeswoman confirmed a formal criminal complaint had been made about the conduct of a number of individuals from both inside and outside the university, as a result of evidence uncovered during an internal investigation.

“In accordance with the university’s ordinances, four employees were suspended and the university appointed an external and independent barrister to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged conduct.”

Last week the university dismissed the vice-chancellor Richard Davies and the dean of the school of management Marc Clement with immediate effect for gross misconduct, following a lengthy internal investigation and disciplinary process. Both deny any wrongdoing and have said they will appeal.

A decision is still pending on a third employee who has been the subject of a disciplinary investigation, while a fourth has resigned. It was not clear which – if any – of the employees suspended or dismissed are being investigated by the police.

“As the university has not completed its disciplinary process, it would not be appropriate to comment further,” the university spokeswoman said. “We continue to cooperate with the authorities in relation to this matter.”

Davies, who was suspended eight months ago, issued a statement last week expressing disbelief at his dismissal, which he described as unjust. “Swansea University has been my life for the past 16 years and I have served the university to the best of my ability with honour and integrity throughout.

“I will be appealing this decision and will thereafter take such formal action as is open to me to clear my name and seek to restore the reputation that individuals within the university have sought to tarnish.”

Clement said: “I am both devastated and immensely saddened by the news of my dismissal as dean of the school of management at Swansea University. I feel wholly let down by the institution I have strived so hard to support and progress over the last decade.”

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Local foodservice provider gives back to children and families in need



Over the last few weeks, Bidfood, one of the UK’s leading foodservice providers, has been rolling out its Action Against Holiday Hunger campaign, at nine of its sites across the UK. The campaign aims to support children and those who need it most, by engaging with local communities and supporting their holiday provision projects, fuelling them with supplies and volunteering support.

As part of their Action Against Holiday Hunger campaign, Bidfood Chepstow has been working in partnership with Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, to support the Swansea Kid’s Lunch Club for the past few weeks. The depot has been donating a variety of food supplies to fuel the summer holiday project, as well as seeing employees from the Bidfood depot personally volunteer with Carolyn, to assist the running of the project and delivery of the supplies. The project aims to help support over 6000 children and their families this summer.

Discussing the initiative, Swansea East MP, Carolyn Harris, said: “Quite simply, a lot of families rely on free school meals during term time and are unable to afford the extra food needed for the six week break; this is why I set up the Swansea Kid’s Lunch Club, to help support these families in need. This year will be the third summer of running the lunch club, having fed over 6000 children in each of the two previous years.

“To help run this scheme, we have had to rely on kind donations of food and drink from a number of suppliers and Bidfood have been one of our biggest supporters. They were quick to answer my original plea and have been proactive in offering help each time I have needed it.

“In the current climate of austerity I envisage that the holiday lunch clubs will continue in Swansea East for the foreseeable future and I am confident that Bidfood will continue to be one of our key providers.”

Along with this, and as part of Bidfood’s Action Against Holiday Hunger campaign, Bidfood chefs have also attended several projects to cook delicious and nutritious meals to feed the children attending the sessions; as well as providing families helpful advice on how to cook on a budget and make a small amount of food go further.

Speaking about the initiative, Nick Sullivan, Head of Sales at Bidfood Chepstow, said: “Supporting the local community is very important to myself and all of our employees here in Chepstow. Children going hungry during the holidays is an increasing issue that affects many communities like ours across Wales, so it is important that as a business in the food industry, we use our resources to support these disadvantaged families in need.”

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Landore Depot in Swansea to be reopened by Chrysalis Rail



A SWANSEA railway depot is set to reopen this month after closing in December.

Landore depot, which previously operated as Great Western Railway’s maintenance depot, was closed eight months ago.

It has now been announced that it will reopen as a rolling stock maintenance and overhaul depot.

The company will be using the site for vehicle refurbishment, re-paints and modifications.

Chris Steele, managing director of Chrysalis Rail, said: “We are delighted to reopen the Landore depot as a Chrysalis base in south Wales.

“We currently operate across the UK at both our own sites and our customers depots, and we are delighted to take on a new site which will offer greater capacity and opportunity to continue to provide high-quality rolling stock solutions to the rail industry.

“There is a great existing local railway talent pool with the relevant knowledge and expertise here in south Wales.

“We would love to hear from local people interested in a career in the rail industry with the relevant skills, experience and attitude to come and work with us.”
A date for the reopening has not yet been confirmed but Chrysalis Rail confirmed that it will be at the beginning of August.

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Amazon demo over ‘terrible treatment, unsafe working conditions and dehumanising work’



GMB, the union for Amazon workers, has staged a protest at the company’s Swansea warehouse tonight in anger at working conditions.

The demonstration will took place at from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Monday July 22 at Amazon, Crymlyn Burrows, Swansea.

GMB has staged protests across the country this week to coincide with Amazon’s Prime Day promotion.

Since 2015/16, GMB research has revealed hundreds of ambulance call outs to Amazon warehouses, and more than 600 reports from Amazon warehouses to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

GMB members report targets being so horrific they have to use plastic bottles to urinate in instead of going to the toilet, with pregnant women forced to stand for hours on end and beingtargeted for dismissal.

It has been reported to GMB women have had miscarriages at more than one Amazon fulfilment centre whilst at work. In one horrendous case, it has been reported to GMB that after a woman had a miscarriage at work, an ambulance was not called and she went home on the bus in blood stained clothes.

Meanwhile a GMB survey showed that 87% of those that responded said they were in some form of constant pain, because of the nature of their work.

GMB will also be joined at Milton Keynes, by six Amazon workers from Madrid and Barcelona who are members of the Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), and one of Britain’s leading trade union campaigners, now MP for Erdington and Shadow Minister Jack Dromey MP.

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “The conditions our members work under at Amazon sites are appalling.

“The reports we get from GMB members are horrific and suggest the practices Amazon employ at Swansea create unsafe work, in comparison to many other warehouse distribution centres.

“Amazon workers want Jeff Bezos to know they are people – not robots. It is time that Jeff Bezos showed empathy with the very people that have helped contribute to his vast and increasing personal fortune.

Jack Dromey MP Shadow Pensions Minister, said:

“It’s unacceptable that Amazon workers are subjected to working practices that would shame a 19th Century Mill Owner while the company makes ever increasing profits and Jeff Bezos gets even richer.

I will now meet with the HSE to arrange for a joint health and safety audit of Amazon with the HSE and GMB Union so no more Amazon workers are injured at work”.

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