The threat of Royal Mail strike action across Scotland is growing after management refused to reinstate a sacked postal worker despite being ordered to do so by an employment tribunal judge.
Workers are to be balloted for action which could start next month affecting Edinburgh, the Lothians, central Scotland, Fife and the Borders.
Dave Mitchell, 57, from Cupar in Fife, who had 27 years service was sacked in 2014 after test items allegedly went missing. No evidence was found despite Mr Mitchell, his home, car and van being searched by the Royal Mail investigation bureau.
The company refused to reinstate Mr Mitchell despite a ruling from an employment tribunal and he was awarded a cash settlement of £56,000.
However, Mr Mitchell, who was backed by colleagues in Cupar who took strike action last year, his local community which held “silent” protests outside the delivery office, and who also has the backing of SNP MP Stephen Gethins, has maintained his innocence and said he wants his job back.
Following a meeting of Communication Workers Union (CWU) reps in Edinburgh on Sunday at which there was unanimous support for Mr Mitchell, Kenny Logan, CWU Scotland branch secretary, contacted union headquarters to begin the ballot process.
Mr Mitchell said: “All the guys supporting me is overwhelming. They know how important this is to me. They know the same thing could happen to anyone and it could be them tomorrow. I would gladly give the money back, all I want is to return to work.”
Mr Logan said: “There is a strong likelihood of an all-out strike. The attitude Royal Mail has taken is despicable. I would like them to re-look at their position. For a blue chip company they are not handling industrial relations very well.
Ray Ellis, CWU national assistant secretary, said: “Disregarding the judge’s decision is highly unusual and of concern to members UK-wide.”
A Royal Mail spokeswoman 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.”