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‘We are not going to drop this’: sacked RAF Lakenheath worker to appeal court decision

PUBLISHED: 07:21 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 07:21 12 December 2019

Anthea Webster claims she was wrongfully dismissed from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Marc Betts/Archant

Anthea Webster claims she was wrongfully dismissed from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Marc Betts/Archant

Archant

A woman who claims she was fired by a US airbase unfairly has appealed against the decision that her case can not be heard in the UK.

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath fly along-side a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker near the North Sea. Picture: Senior Airman Benjamin CooperU.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath fly along-side a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker near the North Sea. Picture: Senior Airman Benjamin Cooper

Anthea Webster, 54, of Beck Row, in Mildenhall, worked at RAF Lakenheath as an office assistant from December 2011 before being dismissed in October 2017.

She took the base to a tribunal but was told by the judge that because she is employed under American law the case could not be heard in the UK.

Civilian personnel on the US bases were formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and assigned to work for United States Air Force Europe (USAFE).

But in 2010, the US military decided to shift from engaging workers through the MoD to hiring them directly.

Anthea Webster claims she was wrongfully dismissed from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Marc BettsAnthea Webster claims she was wrongfully dismissed from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Marc Betts

Mrs Webster hopes that her case will help others in the same situation.

She said: "There are a lot of British people who are the same position as me. We're not going to drop this as it is serious in terms of what is happening in areas where civilians are employed.

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"I'm not a social person anymore, I don't trust anyone. I have had to have psychology treatment. I'm on more drugs than when I was working there.

A Royal Air Force F-35B lands at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Picture: Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew/48th Fighter Wing Public AffairsA Royal Air Force F-35B lands at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Picture: Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew/48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

"I live in the same area next to the base and it's a constant reminder. Once we have the appeal hopefully we will win it and change things for everyone in this area or the country that works for the USAFE as you don't have any guarantees."

Mrs Webster claims that her job description and title was wrong while she was working on the base.

She added: "I put in a grievance that my job description was not correct because from applying to be an automation clerk and doing the job of base records management are two different things.

"The main problem is when I went to RAF Lakenheath the job that I was supposed to do was not the job that I ended up doing.

"I was teaching a lot of classes and training people in base records management but that isn't what an automation clerk does."

Mrs Webster has submitted her appeal to an employment appeal tribunal.

RAF Lakenheath declined to comment.


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