Somerset Royal Mail Xmas strike after ‘callous’ sacking


Christmas Eve and the day before will see walkouts by postal workers furious at the “callous and heartless” sacking of a postman just before the festive season.

Paul Hollow, a postman at Keynsham Delivery Office, was fired by Royal Mail under the absence process, but his colleagues voted to take strike action as the absences he was dismissed for were due to a series of personal tragedies.

Paul has suffered a family bereavement, with another family member being diagnosed with cancer and experienced health problems of his own, all of which culminated in a period of depression, which took him out of the workplace.

But, after getting back to work with the hope of putting his troubles behind him, he was called into a meeting by his employer and sacked, with the dismissing manager claiming there were ‘no mitigating circumstances’ connected to his absences.

In a statement yesterday, Paul’s branch secretary Rob Wotherspoon (Bristol & District Amal) said that this situation was “one of the most callous cases I have ever seen.

We believe there are major errors of process here, but more than that, managers have completely failed to apply basic standards of human decency,” he pointed out.

Describing the sacking as “both heartless and brainless,” Rob continued: “Royal Mail touts its credentials around mental health but this case suggests that unfortunately this is just an exercise in public relations.

Paul said that he was “in shock” when he was told he had lost his job, saying that he is the main breadwinner for his family.

“We live pay check to pay check and now I don’t know how we will get through Christmas,” he said, adding: “I’ve always worked really hard at my job.”

Paul added that he had hoped his employer would have been supportive in light of the extremely difficult personal and family issues he had gone through, “but they have completely let me down when I needed them.”

Strike action, directly impacting on the BS31 postcode area, will take place on Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th December.

Rob Wotherspoon says that Paul and his striking colleagues “deserve the respect and support of anyone who values compassion in the workplace.”