A paper mill worker has won £26,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal after being falsely accused of stealing diesel.
Unite member Wayne Davies, 44, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was filmed taking fuel from a tank and was “unjustly” banned from the UPM print works in Shotton, Flintshire.
Mr Davies was in fact using the diesel to fill up water jets to clean lorries, a job he and his colleagues did every day, but was disciplined for breaching health and safety regulations. A tribunal heard that the father-of-two should not have been banned from working on the site by the owners, UPM.
As he was unable to do his job as a warehouse team leader, his employer – C M Downton haulage contractors – dismissed him.
Following his dismissal he was supported in his claim for unfair dismissal by Unite Legal Services.
Mr Davies told the tribunal in Prestatyn, north Wales, that the disciplinary process had been a “sham” and that he was fired because he was on a better pay and benefits package than new recruits. He had worked for the haulage firm for 25 years.
The tribunal heard how the haulage firm did try to persuade UPM to lift the ban but they refused. Mr Davies’ bosses at CM Haulage then failed to make enough efforts to find him another job in the organisation.
Mr Davies said: “I am delighted to have won the case but I never thought it would get this far. I was carrying out a job that was done every day by myself or my colleagues and ended up getting the sack.
“I was a loyal employee for 25 years and can’t believe how I was treated. It was totally wrong and the strain it has put on my family and I has been intense.”
David Griffiths, regional officer at Unite the Union, said: “Mr Davies has suffered as a result of his mistreatment and I am delighted we have been able to secure this judgement for him.
“There were steps that could and should have been taken by CM Downtons to prevent this dismissal. Despite having evidence to suggest that Mr Davies was not guilty of the allegations made by UPM management, Downtons ignored this and dismissed our member without thought of the consequence of their actions.”