Dismissed botanics employee is praised

A protest in support of Ms MacDonald was held earlier this year.
A protest in support of Ms MacDonald was held earlier this year.

Former colleagues of an education officer, who was dismissed from her role at St Andrews Botanic Garden last year, have backed a campaign to get her reinstated.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of Nikki MacDonald, followed by a protest in January.

Since then, nine former colleagues of Ms MacDonald have contacted the Citizen to express their support for the petition.

Several revealed that they had resigned from their posts at the garden as a result of Ms MacDonald’s dismissal.

The former colleagues, some of whom did not wish to be named, all praised Ms MacDonald for her work at the garden.

One stated: “We who are protesting found Nikki to be an admirable colleague and teacher, and admired her work ethic and the marvellous programmes she put in place for children at the garden.”

Pamela Robertson, who worked under Ms MacDonald, said: “As my line manager, she was hard working and considerate, a pleasure to work with.

“Her manner is always quiet, calm, professional and considerate and in seven years I have never seen her behave in any other way with adults or children.”

Lisa Smith, another who worked alongside Ms MacDonald, added: “In all, she was a marvellous asset to the garden and key to its future success.”

An employment tribunal is currently being arranged, and Ms MacDonald hopes to be reinstated to her post.

A statement from St Andrews Botanic Garden stated: “We have followed advice on due process throughout this case from our retained human resource consultants and their legal advisors.

“As a matter of due process, the trustees and management team of St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust cannot engage in public discussion on matters relating to any member of staff, past or present.”

In a previous statement to the Citizen, a spokesman had said that it “strongly refutes the allegations recently made on behalf of a former employee”.

The trust took over the running of the garden from Fife Council in 2015.