Hundreds sign petition calling on St Andrews botanics to re-hire worker

Protest outside Botanic Garden.
Protest outside Botanic Garden.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of a former education officer at St Andrews Botanic Garden.

Nikki MacDonald was dismissed from the garden in September, prompting a colleague to organise a protest. The protest was held outside the garden last month, and now 611 people have signed a petition calling for her to be reinstated.

Colleague Yvonne McKie, who started the petition, said: “We hope the petition demonstrates the strength of support for Nikki MacDonald and for the (St Andrews Botanic Garden) Trust to reconsider its actions.

“Nikki has been an incredible asset to the Garden – questions need to be asked as to how this has happened.”

Yvonne claims Nikki was dismissed because she was “asking colleagues to provide her with professional references after a capability meeting had been sprung upon her”.

A Garden spokesman said: “In the interests of confidentiality, the board and management team will not discuss matters relating to any member of staff, past or present, but strongly refutes the allegations recently made on behalf of a former employee. Our efforts continue to be focused on the on-going development of St Andrews Botanic Garden, which now attracts around 35,000 visitors each year, cementing its reputation as one of St Andrews’ most popular visitor attractions, as well as a garden of national horticultural significance.

“As a result of this on-going success and stability St Andrews Botanic Garden has been able to increase employee numbers from seven to twelve and has seen volunteer numbers and hours contributed increase significantly over the past three years.”

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