Posties strike in support of colleague sacked over theft claims

An employment tribunal has ruled David Mitchell should be reinstated but Royal Mail refuse.

Strike: Postal workers staged a walk-out in support of David Mitchell, centre. <strong>STV</strong>
Strike: Postal workers staged a walk-out in support of David Mitchell, centre. STV

Postal workers in a Fife town have gone on strike for a second time in support of a colleague who was sacked over allegations of theft.

Postman David Mitchell, 57, had worked for Royal Mail for 27 years until the incident.

He took his former bosses to an employment tribunal, winning £57,000 in compensation and lost earnings.

Judge Ian McFatridge also ordered the postal service to reinstate Mr Mitchell, twice, as he said there were no reasonable grounds for the belief he had stolen mail, but they have failed to do so.

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His colleagues went on strike for 24 hours for a second time from 8.30am on Monday amid reports that the strike could spread to other offices in Fife and wider Scotland.

Action: There are reports the strike may spread throughout Fife and wider Scotland. STV

Mr Mitchell has also won the support of his local MP Stephen Gethins.

Mr Gethins said: “This is question of fairness. There’s now been two court rulings in Mr Mitchell’s favour and Royal Mail need to respect that.”

Mr Mitchell is also being backed the Communications Workers Union (CWU) which says Royal Mail failed to properly investigate the theft allegations.

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During the tribunal, the judge heard Mr Mitchell’s delivery van, personal car, home and clothing was searched by investigators.

It came after items of mail were reported missing on his round, but no trace of the items were found.

CWU assistant secretary Ray Ellis said: “It was an extremely serious allegation, accusing him of theft with no evidence whatsoever.

“As well as the court, the Scottish prosecution service also ruled that there was insufficient evidence to back up the charge.”

The striking workers are demanding that Mr Mitchell is reinstated to his previous job.

A spokeswoman for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail is disappointed that the Communications Workers Union has again taken strike action at Cupar Delivery Office today.

“We are out delivering mail to nearly all our customer in Cupar today and the enquiry office remains open for customers to pick up mail.

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“Royal Mail continues to work with our trade union and people locally to resolve this issue and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”

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