Tribunal appeal for roof protest postie
Thursday, December 24, 2009, 09:20
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A POSTMAN sacked for staging a rooftop protest will be taking Royal Mail to an employment tribunal.
Paul Dawson scaled Royal Mail's Burslem delivery office for the second time on August 11, minutes after being sacked for a previous rooftop demonstration in March.
The 40-year-old, pictured, from Ball Green, was one of 12 employees suspended at Burslem two years ago over allegations of bullying, which sparked weeks of strikes by sympathetic colleagues.
He was subsequently exonerated, but climbed on to the roof in March to demand a public apology from the firm. That apology was issued, but his protest saw him accused of trespass and wilfully delaying the post.
The father-of-one appealed against his sacking in August, but has now found out the dismissal has been upheld.
The news came just days before he appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court charged with aggravated trespass.
Yesterday he entered a guilty plea, but his case was adjourned until February for further reports.
Laura Jones, prosecuting, told the court 25,000 items of mail were not delivered on August 11, because 70 members of staff were forced to stay outside the depot while Mr Dawson was on the roof. Another 130 special deliveries failed to arrive before the 1pm deadline.
Miss Jones said: "A police negotiator at the scene said Mr Dawson refused several requests to come down from the roof and that it was his intention to cause as much distress for Royal Mail as possible.
"Mr Dawson said he considered he had been wrongly dismissed and he had got on the roof to draw attention to how he had been unfairly treated by management."
Nick Ryles, defending, said: "There is a history to this case and it has had long-term effects upon Mr Dawson. He has been prescribed anti-depressants and although his depression is not of a psychotic nature, it may have clouded his judgment.
"He was clearly upset by the way he had been treated and undertook the protest because he felt aggrieved.
"The main purpose of the protest was to highlight the way in which he and his former colleagues had been treated. It was not his specific intention to disrupt Royal Mail and he did offer a public apology."
After the hearing, Mr Dawson, who has worked for Royal Mail for 20 years, said: "It's disappointing I didn't get a result today as I wanted to draw a line under the court proceedings and try to move on with life.
"I found out the appeal did not go my way so I've applied for an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
"That could mean it dragging on for another six to 12 months but I believe I was unfairly treated by Royal Mail and want some justice."
Royal Mail declined to comment.