Oxfam 'fired' me, claims volunteer

OXFAM has ‘fired’ a volunteer who protested about an increase in the price of second-hand books.

Bob Battye

OXFAM has ‘fired’ a volunteer who protested about an increase in the price of second-hand books.

Former teacher Bob Battye, 71, pictured, had been helping the charity for 11 years.

When he questioned the new pricing policy, he received an email telling him that his services were no longer required.

A statement from the charity denied any volunteer had been refused permission to assist them.

That was in stark contrast to the email Mr Battye received from the shop manager Sophie Rhodes, which informed him that his 11 years of helping out were at an end.

‘Based on our three recent meetings it is clear that you are currently unhappy volunteering at Oxfam, and that you are not prepared to follow the essential policies required by me as shop manager,’ it said.

‘Sophie and I had a coffee and spoke generally,' said Mr Battye. 'At no point did I say I wasnot prepared to follow the policies.’

Comments for: "Oxfam 'fired' me, claims volunteer"

Terry Langlois

why does the GP waste our time with these stories?

GP - the job of a journalist is to uncover the facts and report them. Please don't report until you can actually find out something about the story other than Party A claiming X and Party B denying it. That is not news.


The story above has been expanded to provide more details of Mr Battye's dismissal. The Guernsey Press stands by it as a news story.


I refuse to donate to this charity any more, for a very simple reason.

Id previously donated any spare clothes I had for them to resell.

One time I dropped off the clothing to the main store and as I left realised there was something there I might buy for a fancy dress do.

I went out back to try it on and when I came back out the staff were going through my clothes id donated.

As I stood in the queue, the staff pulled out 2 different T-shirts, neither of which had been worn, both of which still had labels on with the price tags, one was £20, the other was a designer tshirt worth £60.

The lady holding both of them, turned to her colleague and said, well were not going to sell that kind of stuff, and then promptly threw both items into the bin. Yes they were selling similar styled tshirts at the time.

I now donate elsewhere....I had donated there for more than 10 years before this.

Mrs Meat

Surely this wasn't in the Guernsey store? They don't go through things in the shop as they have storage upstairs where they sort.

I volunteered there briefly and they had a strict policy of what they would sell, but anything not their thing would be sent on to the Salvation Army, old blankets and towels to the Animal Shelter. Very little went into the actual bin.

If this is the man who has been sorting their books for years, this is a horrible way to treat him. Sorting and pricing books is a lot of work. Oxfam's book prices are already steep, but they get directions from head office on how to price everything.


It was the Guernsey store, they certainly did go through the things in the store.

unfortunately I can only comment on what I saw with my own eyes from under 2 metres away (I was the other side of the counter)

As such I will never again donate to that charity.


Maybe its your dress sence Bob!


"A statement from the charity denied any volunteer had been refused permission to assist them."

All this guy needs to do then is give a copy of the email to Guernsey press who can then show it to the charity and then see what they have to say.

simples really.


I really feel here that we do not know the full story and I am certainly not going to cast judgement , but what I do know is that I do think volunteers in general are not appreciated enough. I work in a charity shop and believe me you have no idea the items we have to sift through. What people believe to be genuine donations are sometimes down right disgusting. And I cannot believe what people donate, and really believe they are resaleable. We have to dump them and also pay to dump them, so please think before you send us this rubbish,us volunteers have to handle every item has to be sorted and priced. Volunteers are precious and deserved to be respected for the amazing hours they give free to these very needy charities week in and week out.

Jill Dexter

I feel this is a very one sided report and not good journalism. Charity shops are run with strict guidelines and I know, from experience, that not all volunteers are happy to follow them. Volunteers are invaluable but need to work within the guidelines.

The manager appears to have made it clear that that is the reason the problem arose.

Jill Dexter

And Bob .......

If your donations were taken out of the bag, commented on and thrown in the bin, it was not done adhering to guidelines. Donations have to go to the sorting room before bags are emptied.

Concerned John

As much as I do not like journalists it is odd how when one party does not like what is said by the press then it is poor journalism. In cases like this it tends to make me more accepting of the news report!!!!


If, as a volunteer, anyone is not happy with the way they are appreciated then they have two choices,(a) find another charity to work for, or, (b) stop whining and don`t do any work for any of them, and hang up your begging bowls.

Mr Battye, WE (well, most of us,) DON`T CARE.


Agreed, I careth not! Surely there is more interesting stuff to report on? Stolen drain covers for example, now there's a story!!


I have noticed that the Guernsey Oxfam shop has improved beyond recognition in recent months, perhaps due to a fresh approach. The young staff are always friendly and helpful when I go into the shop. I cannot comment on what is reported to have happened, but one of the male volunteers was shouting in a very unpleasant manner when I was in the shop recently; so much so that I left. This sounds like sour grapes if it was the same man.


I have volunteered for quite a few organisations and it never ceases to amaze me how each one has it's own little tin-pot hierarchy.

Some people who run charities are far more interested in promoting themselves than any objectives of the organisation.

Then you get the people who join and want to change everything. Not a bad thing, but often they just want to have the power themselves.

As to this story there seems to be two sides to it and we are only hearingone side. Lazy journalism, or are Oxfam staying quiet to keep their dirty washing out of public?

Dirty washing andcharity shops. That's another story!


I've known Bob Battye for 40 pluss years and he is not a man who would make a mountain out of a mole hill; in fact quite the reverse. As a head teacher of a local school for disabled children he is well respected and a good honest man. I know who I would believe; the man above or some inflated pomposs pratt.

Mr Strong

I find it ironic that an ex-headmaster, who will have spent much of his life dictating people what to do, refused to follow policies implemented by the charity. Surely if anyone else refused to do what their employer requested then they would (rightly) be asked to leave.

I would also agree with Mary's comment. I have been going into Oxfam for a long time, and have noticed that over the last 6-12 months it has changed significantly, and for the better! The quality of goods in there always amazes me, it almost feels like a boutique rather than a charity shop!