POSTMEN could hold more strikes over Christmas to clear the reputation of a colleague accused of bullying.
Workers at the Royal Mail’s Kirkby depot abandoned their rounds for a second time on Thursday to support their union rep who they claim is being “forced out” for approaching a postman after a spate of parcel thefts.
The 46-strong team said they did not want to disrupt customers’ lives but would continue to strike over Christmas if their colleague’s name was not cleared for trying to do “the right thing”.
During the three-hour-strike, one postman, who did not wish to be named, said: “We could have to strike over Christmas. We don’t want the public to suffer, but to do this to a man who has worked here for 25 years with an unblemished record and was trying to help us was just disgusting.”
The postmen said the dispute started in March after several special delivery packets were stolen from the depot – one containing $15,000 worth of holiday money – and the workers asked their union rep to speak to a colleague about it.
But when the rep, who asked not to be named, talked to the colleague he was accused of bullying and harassment and later issued with a two-year suspended dismissal by the Royal Mail.
But the workers claim no investigation into the thefts ever took place despite numerous calls from concerned customers.
A postman said: “After 25 years dedicated service, if our rep does anything at all in the next two years he will be fired. He is a family man, runs a kids’ football team, loves the community and is on first-name terms with his customers.
“He was only approaching someone for us and trying to do what was right. He should not be given any form of punishment.”
Some of the postmen say they have sent witness statements regarding the meeting between the union rep and the colleague but say they were ignored after they were considered to be “banding together” as “friends”.
The workers held two unofficial strikes in October and an official strike on Saturday December 8 after a unanimous Communication Workers Union members’ ballot.
Royal Mail director Tony Baxter confirmed staff had taken industrial action and apologised to customers for any impact in may of had on their service, saying they had drafted in managers to help ease the situation.
He said: “We are fully aware of the concerns of staff. This relates to a case involving one individual in the office and Royal Mail has robust procedures, agreed with the Communication Workers Union, to deal with such matters.
“We regret that they have decided to take this action.”