Socialist Worker

Wildcat walkout in Somerset post to defend disabled worker

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2479

Andrew Mootoo (left) with CWU rep Dave Chapple

Andrew Mootoo (left) with CWU rep Dave Chapple (Pic: CWU Eastern No 5)


Postal workers in Bridgwater, Somerset, staged an unofficial walkout today, Wednesday, to demand the reinstatement of a disabled worker.

Some 80 members of the CWU union voted to walk out without an official ballot this morning in defence of Andrew Mootoo.

Andrew has been on sick leave since he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) some 18 months ago.

Royal Mail initially tried to dismiss Andrew after his diagnosis, but were unable to after the CWU proved that this would be illegal.

Instead they have kept him on sick leave for so long that his pay has been stopped, meaning he now has to rely on benefits.

Andrew has passed a test which proved that with supportive equipment he would be able to work.

But Royal Mail bosses demanded Andrew complete a follow-up test, which some CWU officials say was designed to ensure he failed.

Dirty

Bridgwater CWU rep Dave Chapple said, “Royal Mail, nationally and locally, have tried every dirty trick in their book to get Andrew the sack and reduce him to a lifetime of benefits dependency.

“The last straw is Royal Mail saying that Andrew has no rest room for his meal break, because it is in continuous use by managers for disciplinary purposes. And that his MS means he will get stuck in the toilet. What offensive rubbish from the country's second largest employer.”

He added, “All Andrew’s friends at Bridgwater Delivery Office want is for Royal Mail to sit down and give him a chance to come off the dole and work for his living, as he wants to do. The work is there.”

The strikers are set to continue their unofficial action into a second day. They need solidarity.

Dave said, “Eighty Bridgwater trades unionists are right now, a day after the Tory Trade Union Bill passed the House of Commons, breaking these vicious laws to fight for workplace justice for a severely disabled and much respected colleague.

“They, and Andrew, deserve your support”.

Send messages of support and solidarity to davechapple@btinternet.com

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