‘Outrageous’ sacking of postman demonstrates ‘toxic’ workplace culture

“This is probably one of the most outrageous dismissals by Royal Mail and Tribunal verdict I’ve ever heard about,” says CWU outdoor secretary Mark Baulch, in reaction to the upholding of a postman’s dismissal for allegedly being one minute late with a special delivery item.

“Make no mistake, this union is appealing this decision legally and, in the meantime, we’ll also be taking up this case with the company at the highest possible level,” he continues, adding his “anger and sheer disbelief” at both the outcome of the Tribunal and the original sacking by the company.

“If it was solely that he was just one minute late, then this would be a strong mitigation on its own,” Mark explains, “but in this case, the postman actually arrived inside the premises – a high street bank – four minutes before the 1pm special delivery time.

“And the only reason that he was unable to obtain the signature of receipt that he needed was because he was told he had to wait in the queue along with the other bank customers.”

Robert Lockyer, who has worked for the business for 29 years, was fired from his job at Ashford Delivery Office in October of 2018, after management accused him of “gross misconduct” for the alleged one-minute delay, citing PDA (postal digital assistant) data as evidence.

“But what’s impossible to understand – and what’s truly infuriating here – is that the management were not prepared to accept data from the same PDA clearly proving that he actually arrived inside this delivery customer’s premises a full four minutes before the deadline,” Mark points out.

Mr Lockyer’s case was appealed by the union through the appropriate internal Royal Mail procedures and, after this failed to win justice, the issue was submitted to the Employment Tribunal, which heard the case in July and delivered its verdict – upholding the dismissal – last month.

Mark Baulch says that the details of this case “almost make it impossible to even do the job – and it also demonstrates why our members should back the union in this current ballot.

“If someone actually arrives inside a commercial premises, with the delivery item within the deadline specified, then there is clearly no delay on the part of the delivery worker – in this instance, the delay is obviously due to the unusual procedure of the bank itself in telling our member to queue alongside the other bank customers.

“How on earth our member could be considered to be at fault here is completely beyond m – this is why the culture within the workplace must change, once and for all.

“We’ve got to achieve justice for Rob Lockyer – we cannot allow such unfairness to go unchallenged,” Mark insists.

Mr Lockyer says that he is “bitterly upset” at the “harsh” treatment of him by the company.

“I can’t believe what has happened to me – all I wanted to do was to do my job.

“I really hope the union can make this right. I just want to get back to work.”