A TRADE union has been criticised after giving £145,000 to a former general secretary who was sacked after 13 days in the job.

Sheila Mechan earned the equivalent of £11,169 a day as head of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA).

The employment lawyer is now standing for the Conservatives in Glasgow at next year’s Holyrood election.

SNP MSP Sandra White said the payment was “outrageous”.

The SSTA has around 6900 members, the majority of whom are women, and is one of the largest teaching unions in the country.

In March last year, the union announced that it was “thrilled” to welcome Mechan to the job as she brought a “huge range of skills necessary for the post”. Her salary was around £76,000 a year.

Mechan started on April 7 but was suspended on April 19 and the SSTA put out a press release later in the month stating that her employment had been terminated.

A union spokesperson said at the time: "This decision is regrettable, but given the immediate breakdown of a significant number of crucial working relationships, the SSTA decided it was in the association's best interests to move quickly to resolve the situation.”

Mechan was quoted criticising the decision: "I was appointed following a nine month search - internal, external and national - which involved headhunters for the position of general secretary.

"I was the right person then. I haven't changed in two weeks. That says more about the SSTA than it does about me. I just feel sorry for the membership."

The SSTA’s latest annual return, lodged with the Certification Officer public body, reveals that Mechan was paid £145,200 in “gross salary” for the work carried out in 13 days in April last year.

The sum works out at the equivalent of nearly £1,400 an hour if she worked between 9am-5pm every day during her brief spell in post.

It is understood the payment came after she initiated sheriff court and employment tribunal actions against the union.

The sum worked out at around 15% of the £1,047,726 the union received from members in contributions and subscriptions in 2014.

According to the accounts, salary payments to acting general secretaries who took charge temporarily before and after Mechan’s spell came to around £96,000.

The official return also notes that the SSTA has not fully disclosed the effects on the financial statements of an internal “employment dispute”.

The document adds: “It is anticipated that there will be further legal costs which have not been provided in these accounts.”

HeraldScotland:

Source: Certification Officer

Mechan’s social media profile states that she provides legal advice in unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and sex discrimination cases. She was born in Glasgow and attended Notre Dame High School. Prior to a legal career, she helped launch magazines for Asda and Waitrose.

She is unlikely to win Glasgow Kelvin for the Tories next year, but she is highly regarded in the party and tipped to stand for a place on the regional List.

White, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said: “My constituents will be horrified that someone can get that amount of money for 13 days' work, and then become a candidate for a party that wants to cut the money for working-class people. It is outrageous and rank hypocrisy.”

Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said: "Transparency and accountability are essential elements of handling trade union or staff association subscriptions. Workers' representatives, more than anyone, know there's a 'rate for the job' and the rate for that job certainly isn't 11,000 a day.”

Central Scotland MSP John Wilson said: “The fact that the annual accounts indicate a payment of over £145,000 for what amounted to 13 days' work raises serious concerns about the competence of the SSTA executive and the use of members' money in such a manner.”

Both the SSTA and Mechan declined to comment.