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Drew Hendry accuses Royal Mail of violating workers' rights by suspending union officers

By Neil MacPhail

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DREW Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, is deeply concerned over the recent suspension of Communication Workers Union (CWU) representatives across the Highlands.

In a letter to Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson, Mr Hendry called the suspensions a "grave violation" of workers' rights and an attack on the principles of democracy.

Royal Mail has been in dispute with its workers for many months over proposed changes to pay and terms of conditions.

The Royal Mail CEO is also expected to attend a parliamentary committee in the UK Parliament tomorrow (Wed) following accusations that he previously misled the committee.

Mr Hendry's letter follows reports he has received from concerned constituents that the situation has escalated locally, resulting in the suspension of local CWU representatives.

Mr Hendry said: "Unions are a crucial part of a fair workplace, and union reps work tirelessly to represent and protect the rights of Royal Mail workers across the country.

"The suspension of their representatives is a grave violation of their rights and goes against the principles of democracy and workers' rights."

Mr Hendry, SNP, also urged Royal Mail to reconsider its decision to suspend the CWU representatives and to work with them to resolve any outstanding issues fairly and transparently.

He expressed concern over the potential negative impact that the suspensions may have on the morale and productivity of Royal Mail workers across the Highlands.

In his letter to Mr Thompson, the MP wrote: "I urge you to immediately restore the suspended CWU union representatives in the Highlands and work with them to ensure workers' rights are protected and respected.

"Your actions can profoundly impact the lives of Royal Mail workers in the Highlands and beyond. It is your responsibility to ensure that they are treated fairly and justly."

Mr Hendry also asked to meet with the Royal Mail to discuss the issue further.

He added: "Given the impact this strategy of intimidation is having on local postal workers in my constituency, I would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss this concerning approach to this dispute."

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on alleged reports of conduct cases that might involve specific individuals in any given local area.

"Nationwide, 76 employees are suspended for their alleged behaviour during or around days of industrial action.

"Royal Mail employs around 90,000 postmen and women, so those involved in such behaviour only make up a tiny proportion of our c140,000 employees. Those allegations are being dealt with in the same way we would any other breach of our standards.

"Like any large employer, we have several cases ongoing at any given time. We treat such allegations seriously, whether the employee is a union rep or not. All allegations are fully investigated through the conduct procedure, which comprises three stages: fact finding, conduct meeting and, if there is a penalty, an appeal which is a rehearing of the case.”

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