Post clerk offered £125,000 after false hooligan claims

Barrie Clement,Labour Editor
Friday 17 January 2014 02:52
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A postal clerk unfairly dismissed for alleged football hooliganism has been offered £125,000 in compensation by Consignia.

The proposal has been made to Mick Doherty, who was sacked by the postal group after television pictures showed him fighting at the 2000 Uefa Cup Final between Arsenal and Galatasaray.

Consignia was faced with a London-wide strike after its refusal to reinstate Mr Doherty, chairman of a north London branch of the Communications Workers Union. He had won an employment tribunal case for unfair dismissal. Union officials believe he was victimised because of his union activities.

Mr Doherty's brother Tom, who was also deemed to have been unfairly dismissed after he was shown on television apparently throwing a punch at a Turkish supporter, is expected to seek the same level of compensation.

Mick Doherty, who has always demanded reinstatement as his minimum requirement, yesterday denied all knowledge of the offer but added: "I can't say anything now that will jeopardise on-going negotiations."

The brothers' supporters have insisted both men had been protecting women and children in their group from an attack by Turkish hooligans who had been throwing chairs and other missiles. The two men were sacked after political pressure was put on companies by Tony Blair to dismiss employees who were seen to be guilty of football hooliganism.

A spokeswoman for Consignia said it would abide by the decision of a forthcoming appeals tribunal in the case of Tom Doherty but management would continue to refuse to reinstate Mick Doherty.

An official said it was justified in refusing to re-employ Mick Doherty because of an "irreparable breakdown in trust" between him and the company. He added: "We have made an offer but the terms are strictly confidential. So we cannot confirm the figure. We believe it is important to draw a line under this issue."

The decision by Consignia, about to change its name to Royal Mail, amounts to a U-turn. The company has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on legal fees in a two-year campaign to justify its decision to sack the brothers.

The group was involved in the expensive litigation at a time when it was incurring massive deficits. Consignia recently announced a record £1.1bn annual loss.

Sixteen months ago, £2m was spent to change the organisation's name from the Post Office to Consignia but it is now spending £1m rebranding as Royal Mail plc.

The Communication Workers Union would not comment on the Doherty case but said it was still fighting for Tom Doherty's reinstatement.

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