Jo Rust pictured earlier this year. Picture: Ian Burt

A West Norfolk councillor has lost her employment tribunal case for unfair dismissal after the union she worked for sacked her for breaching Covid-19 restrictions while holidaying in Tenerife.

Jo Rust, who is an independent councillor representing Springwood ward, was arrested by Spanish police at the very start of the pandemic in March last year after she went for a swim in the hotel pool. 

Ms Rust said she thought the restrictions meant she was allowed to use the pool but could not leave the hotel grounds, rather than not being allowed leave the hotel building itself.

Her employer, Unison, subsequently dismissed her, stating it took the action because Ms Rust had been publicly encouraging people to follow Covid restrictions but had not done so herself by entering the pool.

Ms Rust challenged her dismissal, stating she was being discriminated against by Unison because of her strong socialist views and that the union had treated other members of staff more leniently.

The hearing found in favour of the union.

Afterwards, a spokesman for Unison said: “We are pleased the employment tribunal has dismissed Jo Rust’s claims.

“We did not discriminate against her for her political beliefs as she alleged.

“We disciplined and dismissed her in accordance with our disciplinary procedures.

“Jo Rust exercised her legal rights in the employment tribunal and after a four-day hearing the judge rejected all her claims.”

After the case, Ms Rust told Your Local Paper: “I have always expressed remorse and regret for my actions, which were wholly out of character.

“I have hoped the work that I do within my community would go some way to mitigate against the negative impression people would have gained from that short video.  

“My union, solicitor and barrister believed I had a case due to the way Unison has treated other, more senior staffers, in a manner more lenient than they treated me. 

“But  obviously having a case is not the same as winning a case. 

“I will continue to concentrate my efforts within my community and carry on the work I do.”

Ms Rust’s community work has included distributing food parcels to families in need during the pandemic.