Cape Town 06-08-12 -Steven Otter arrives at the Labour court Picture Brenton Geach

Cape Town - Former spin doctor Steven Otter’s urgent application to the Labour Court to have him reinstated as Western Cape MEC Robin Carlisle’s spokesman was dismissed and the matter referred to the Bargaining Council.

Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker said it was not necessary for the court to delve into the merits of the dispute as an alternative remedy did exist with a referral to the Bargaining Council.

Otter, former spokesman for MEC for Transport and Public Works Carlisle, brought an urgent application to the Labour Court in June to be reinstated in his position.

He said he was discriminated against over his diet and for being a teetotaller.

Otter also claimed he was demoted when he was transferred to the premier’s strategic communications unit.

Lawyers for Hector Eliott, head of the province’s Transport and Public Works ministry, said earlier that Otter suffered no prejudice because his transfer is on the same remunerative scale and to a similar position to the one he previously occupied.

Lawyers for the department said previously that Otter’s style of communicating with senior officials was a confrontational one. His conduct had frustrated and compromised the public image of the ministry and led to the breakdown in the channel of communication between himself, Eliott and Carlisle.

In Eliott’s earlier responding court papers, he said Otter’s dress code was frequently “somewhat undesirable”, in conflict with the recommendations of his first performance review, which requested that Otter adopt a “business casual” mode of dress.

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Cape Times