Scotland's trade union body is facing claims of racial discrimination over the dismissal of an employee who worked within its anti-racism project.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is being taken to an employment tribunal by a former member of staff of its One Workplace Equal Rights (OWER) project – a scheme specifically set up to tackle racism and discrimination in the workplace.

Zaffir Hakim, who is of Pakistani origin, claims he was discriminated against by bosses when they made him redundant in March this year, but kept on a white colleague in a similar role.

The 46-year-old, who had worked with the body for 11 years, also claims he was victimised because of a previous tribunal case where he alleged he received less favourable treatment because of his race.

The STUC vehemently denies all of his claims.

In a document submitted to the tribunal, Mr Hakim states that he dropped his previous case because the STUC threatened to stop applying for funding for the project while the case was ongoing, meaning he would lose his job.

When the funding for the scheme was later refused by the Scottish Government anyway, he claims he was made redundant but the other worker was kept on and continued to work within OWER.

The document states: “There was no consultation about the redundancy situation, the claimant was not asked or offered to allow for a union representative to be present at the one [only] discussion held on March 20, there was no discussion on the possibility of any suitable alternatives roles within the organisation and there was no offer of any appeal procedure to the decision taken.”

It adds: “It is the claimant’s understanding that Mr Alan White, who is of white ethnicity, who was also a development officer in the OWER project, and had less than two years’ service with the STUC was not subject to any redundancy process.

“Indeed, the claimant has learned that Mr Alan White is still employed by the STUC. It is the claimant’s position that the roles and requirements of Mr White’s role are easily within the capability of the Claimant.

“The difference in treatment between the claimant and Mr Alan White leads the Claimant to allege that he was directly discriminated against because of his race.”

The OWER project states on its website that it closed on July 31, four months after Mr Hakim was made redundant.

In its response, the STUC deny that he was racially discriminated against or victimised for raising a previous employment tribunal.

Papers lodged at the tribunal state that, with regard to the previous tribunal claim, the STUC was “concerned that the submission of an application for further funding for a race equality project while litigation was ongoing would have little chance of success”.

The body claims it was not a threat, but merely a “confirmation of something the claimant was aware of”.

The document adds: “It would be untenable for the STUC to continue to offer itself as an organisation credibly able to support and advise others on best practice on race equality if it was itself accused of race discrimination.”

Officials also claim the worker applied for funding from the Scottish Government without the knowledge of STUC bosses.

With regards to Mr White, the STUC states: “Mr White was not subject to a redundancy process as his post was not redundant.

“Mr White worked as a Development Officer on the Equality Mentoring Work Shadowing (EMWS) project, funded by the lottery.

“While this project was promoted under the OWER brand, it was not part of the OWER project funded by the Scottish Government.”

The document adds: “It is denied that the claimant’s dismissal was tainted by racial discrimination.

“It is denied that the claimant has suffered from victimisation for having raised an Employment tribunal claim in 2014.”

A spokesman for Thompsons Solicitors, who are representing the STUC, said: “Our clients are unable to comment on the substantive nature of this case as it is the subject of an ongoing legal process.”

However, the spokesman added that the STUC strongly refutes the allegations and they will be “contested vigorously”.