'Half' cost BR man 20,000 pounds

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The Independent Online
BRITISH Rail yesterday rejected an appeal by a clerk against his sacking for drinking half a pint of shandy at his leaving party. The decision cost Alex Bryson pounds 20,000 in redundancy money.

Mr Bryson, 63, three other clerks and an assistant manager at Doncaster freight depot, were dismissed under BR's strict code against drinking on duty. All the dismissals were upheld at yesterday's hearing.

Mr Bryson, of Kirk Sandall, Doncaster, said afterwards: 'This will now go to industrial tribunal. I have worked for BR since 1954 and this has deeply upset me. I have never ever broken the rules.

'It was my leaving party and I was the host. No one had a lot to drink. I had just half a glass of shandy . . . and it's cost me pounds 20,000.

'I needed the cash to keep myself and my wife over the next two years until my pension comes through. I just don't know how British Rail could be so hard- hearted.'

Alan Goodridge, of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, described the ruling as totally unjust. 'I had hoped commonsense would have prevailed, but it was not to be,' he said.

A BR spokesman confirmed the dismissals had not been overturned: 'There is a strict rule against drinking on duty. They could have been working on safety notices,' he said.

'We are running a railway and the safety of rail operatives, staff and passengers is imperative.'