Thousands of Scottish posties are poised to walk out in support of a Cupar postman who’s suffered ‘one of the biggest injustices ever’.
Members of the Communication Workers’ Union unanimously voted at the weekend to ballot the FK, KY and EH areas with a view to taking strike action over the case of Dave Mitchell, sacked by Royal Mail who have consistently refused to re-instate him despite twice being ordered to do so by a tribunal judge.
Dave (58) was dismissed in December 2014 amid allegations of stealing mail but no evidence was ever found.
He has always protested his innocence and his colleagues in the Cupar sorting office have already staged two 24-hour walkouts to show their support.
Now it looks increasingly likely that strikes could spread across a large swathe of Scotland if CWU members vote in favour of industrial action.
The ballot is set to be held at the end of March or beginning of April and will involve around 3000 postal workers.
Dave attended Sunday’s meeting and said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support.
And according to union officials, he has suffered ‘one of the biggest injustices ever’ at the hands of Royal Mail.
Before Sunday’s meeting of the branch of the Communication Workers Union that covers the FK, KY and EH areas, secretary Kenny Logan wrote to all 3000 members outlining the ‘serious issue’ facing them.
He accused Royal Mail of placing its relationship with the union in ‘serious jeopardy’ and undermining the trust workers have in Royal Mail to carry out proper investigations into future conduct cases.
The initial investigation carried out by Royal Mail into the alleged theft of items was likened to ‘the Keystone Cops’ during Dave’s employment tribunal held last summer.
At that tribunal, judge Ian McFatridge ruled that he could find no evidence of any wrongdoing and ordered Royal Mail to give Dave his job back.
They refused and called for a review hearing at which they insisted he would not be re-instated under any circumstances and that would defy the judge’s ruling.
Faced with no choice, Dave reluctantly accepted a financial settlement but vowed to continue fighting for the job he had loved for almost 30 years .
He said that the money would be returned should he be re-instated.
Dave’s plight has also been taken up by local politicians, including North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins and MSP Roderick Campbell.
In a letter to Royal Mail’s chief executive Moya Greene, Mr Campbell said: “In my view it is deeply disappointing that Royal Mail has chosen to disregard the initial order for reinstatement.
“As you may be aware my constituent has widespread support in both the community and amongst his fellow workers. The failure to reinstate has done nothing for the reputation of the Royal Mail in the locality.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail has not received any formal notification of a ballot for strike action from the CWU.
“We are still hopeful of finding a resolution with our union and our people on this local issue, to ensure that customers do not face disruption.
“Our customers expect Royal Mail to do everything in its power to protect the mail we are entrusted to deliver.”