After what’s been called a two-year “David and Goliath” battle with the country’s second largest employer, culminating with a 24-hour wildcat walkout in November, over one hundred Communication Workers’ Union members at Bridgwater Royal Mail Delivery Office in Somerset have secured the reinstatement of Andrew Mootoo, a profoundly deaf postman with MS.
Andrew starts back to work on a part-time desk-based computer job, scanning in undelivered packets, today. He quoted Bob Marley’s band The Wailers, saying: “The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory!”
On Thursday, the day after his reinstatement was confirmed, a gate meeting was held, with Andrew and his wife present, to celebrate a remarkable victory for the Communication Workers’ Union/CWU.
After the gate meeting, the BSL interpreter for Andrew said she had never experienced anything like it, and the speeches had given her goose bumps.
Dave Chapple, with Darren Granter one of two Bridgwater CWU Reps still under threat of dismissal for their part in the November illegal walkout, said:
“Monday will finalise a victory that should be celebrated, not just as part of the TUC HeartUnions week, not just as the latest in an amazing series of strike victories at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, not just as a truly-even for Bridgwater-remarkable act of working-class solidarity, but,perhaps most of all, as a victory for disabled workers everywhere.
How many other workplaces would have held a near-unanimous walkout to support someone who hadn’t been at work for nearly two years?
The unavoidable fact is that Royal Mail’s preferred option was always compulsory transfer out of Bridgwater, or Ill Health Retirement. The most ignorant and prejudiced Royal Mail managers we met, genuinely felt that the dole was the only long-term option. In any other workplace that could or would not risk a lightening strike as a shock tactic, the dole it would have been. “
Andrew Mootoo said:
“After all this time I didn’t expect, suddenly, to find Royal Mail positive about my return to work. I want to say a big thank you to all Bridgwater CWU members who went on strike for me: that was crucial. I cannot believe I have been waiting for two years and one month to return to work. I call it “The Longest Road to CWU Victory”: I am so proud of our militant history here at Bridgwater!”
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. 5 tips for travelling with hearing loss!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children