POSTAL workers staged a one-day walk-out yesterday over the failure of the Royal Mail to reinstate a postal worker, despite being ordered to do so by an employment tribunal judge.
Workers at the Cupar delivery office in Fife took industrial action in support of David Mitchell, 57, who was sacked last year after a number of “test items” went missing.
Royal Mail insisted it had “robust contingency plans” in place to ensure the strike action did not disrupt operations at its busiest time of year.
Mitchell, from Chance Inn in Fife, who has 27 years experience, and is a popular figure in the rural community, maintains that he has done nothing wrong.
After overwhelming support for a resolution calling for action in a ballot organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) more than 40 workers went on strike yesterday.
Mitchell told Scotland on Sunday: “It was amazing to be there as there were a lot of supporters who came out, including my friends, family and customers.
“It was rather emotional for me to see them all there. It was emotional for us all.
“It went 8:30am and all the guys just walked out, so management had to go in to try to deliver the mail.
“I just want to go back to work but the Royal Mail doesn’t seem to want that.
“I don’t think it should have come to this.”
Further strike action could be on the cards if the matter is not resolved, he said.
The Royal Mail asked for a reconsideration hearing and the employment tribunal judge is still to give his ruling on the matter.
Mitchell added: “The guys won’t stop at this. If it takes more strikes, they will do it. They know I just want to go back to work.
“They will do whatever it takes. I really don’t know what is going to happen.”
The local community has rallied round Mitchell, organising silent protests outside the delivery office, putting posters up in villages where Mitchell worked, and organising a petition to reinstate the popular postman who was described as a mainstay of the community.
The striking postal workers were even offered a free pint by staff at the Station Bar across the road to help them to keep their spirits up during the day.
Stephen Gethins, SNP MP for North East Fife, issued a statement in support of the Cupar postal workers and expressed his frustration at the Royal Mail’s decision.
Gethins said: “I have been disappointed by the behaviour of Royal Mail and their blatant disregard for the initial judgment which requested they reinstate Dave Mitchell.
“I am sure his colleagues have not taken this decision lightly; indeed, taking strike action is often the very last resort, but in this case over 97 per cent of postal workers in Cupar have voted to back Dave.
“This shows the massive strength of feeling over an injustice to a hard-working family man dedicated to his job and customers.”
And Gethins added: “I know that Dave has a great deal of support throughout the community and I hope this gives him heart at this very difficult time.
“I hope Royal Mail will take on board the high level of local opposition and reverse their stance.”
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: ”Royal Mail has robust contingency plans in place and will be continuing to deliver to our customers in Cupar should any unnecessary strike action take place at our busiest time of year.
“Royal Mail continues to work with our trade union locally.”
The CWU representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.