herald

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Postman's dispute over package 'too big for bike' settled

Safety concerns were met
Safety concerns were met

A postman fell out with his bosses over his refusal to take a packet measuring just over 40cm in length on his delivery round, believing it was too big for his bike.

The dispute between Robert Brennan and his bosses has now resulted in two State agencies holding three days of hearings over the disputed packet, and the decision by An Post to issue Mr Brennan with a written warning over his refusal to deliver it.

penalised

Earlier this year, after one day of evidence, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) hearing threw out Mr Brennan's claim for being penalised by An Post under safety, work and welfare legislation.

Mr Brennan appealed that ruling to the Labour Court and the court has now upheld the WRC's earlier ruling after hearing a further two days of evidence.

The flashpoint between Mr Brennan and his employers emerged on July 20 last year over his refusal to take the 406mm packet on the back of his bike.

He refused to deliver the packet, saying it "could not be safely delivered on his bicycle without infringing An Post's safety and health rules".

Mr Brennan said that the parcel was long and narrow and he was unable to load it on his bicycle without it sticking out.

An Post said that the item was comfortably within the maximum dimensions for a packet being 406mm in length.

An Post facilitated Mr Brennan by making arrangements to have the packet carried to a drop box 200 yards from the customer's home.

Mr Brennan would then have been able to carry the packet by hand by walking to the customer's home from the drop box.

Addressed

In its findings, the Labour Court said that the offer by An Post to have Mr Brennan drop the packet by hand at the customer's home addressed any safety concerns Mr Brennan may have had.

The court found that Mr Brennan's refusal to deliver the packet "was an industrial relations matter masquerading as a health and safety issue".

"Whatever merit there was in the complainant's initial refusal to carry the packet on his bicycle, it evaporated when the respondent arranged to have it carried to and deposited in a drop box close to the customer's home. At that point any safety concerns had been addressed," the court stated.

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