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Edinburgh and other areas in the East of Scotland could be affected by a postal worker strike after Royal Mail went against the advice of an employment tribunal and refused to reinstate a postal worker they had dismissed.
David Mitchell was dismissed from his position after being accused of stealing mail and was dismissed from his post, however, after protesting his innocence he opted to take his former employer to an employment tribunal. A judge at the employment tribunal ruled that upon his dismissal, there had been insufficient evidence to justify his dismissal. As such, it was deemed that he should be reinstated to his post at Royal Mail. The employment tribunal also ordered a compensation payment of £34,000 to Mr Mitchell for what they considered to be an unfair dismissal with an appeal from the Royal Mail failing.
However, while the company have paid compensation for the dismissal of Mr Mitchell, they have failed to reinstate him after Royal Mail refused to reinstate him in his post.
Due to this, many postal workers across Scotland have threatened to take industrial action to show solidarity with their colleague.
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins, who lodged the motion, said: “This is a simple question of fairness; an employment tribunal has ordered Royal Mail to reinstate Dave after finding that they did not have reasonable grounds to dismiss him or conclude he had stolen any items, and in the tribunal judge’s view, any evidence to sustain such a belief.
“This situation is frustrating enough for me; I can only imagine how awful it must be for Dave and his family.
“Luckily, he has great support in the community and from colleagues.
“This support has also been shown across Scotland, and I repeat my call for the UK Government to intervene ahead of a possible strike across the east of Scotland.”
The campaign to reinstate Mr Mitchell, which has now reached Westminster, has seen some postal workers threaten ballot action with the Communication Workers Union threatening to strike unless Royal Mail reinstates the postal worker, with areas like Fife, Edinburgh and Falkirk to be affected.
Speaking of the potential legal action CWU branch secretary, Kenny Logan said: “We’re preparing for our ballot, and it’s a great morale boost to know that, as well as being backed by local people, that we’re also being supported by our local member of parliament.
“I hope MPs from right across the UK will also sign up to Mr Gethins’ early day motion.”
“Maybe the government might stop and think that before they bring in new laws for unions, they should make sure the employers obey the courts too.”
Despite the potential action, Royal Mail insists that they have not breached the findings of the employment tribunal. A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ““We will not reinstate Mr Mitchell, as we believe that the trust between employee and employer has completely broken down.
“As we feel unable to reinstate Mr Mitchell, the judge ordered Royal Mail to pay additional compensation, which Mr Mitchell has received.”
“Royal Mail has complied fully with the court order and employment legislation.”
As it can be seen from the Royal Mail case, employment tribunals and settlement agreements can be exceptionally complex; therefore, it is vital that if you wish to begin an employment tribunal, that you seek legal advice from our team of legal experts. If you wish to start legal proceedings for an unfair dismissal or if you require any other legal advice contact our team today using our online contact form.