Petition launched to save sacked Welwyn postwoman after 18-year career
PUBLISHED: 06:59 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:27 14 August 2019
A petition has been launched in a bid to prevent a Welwyn postwoman from being let go by the Royal Mail.
Michele Hedges, who has delivered post in the village for 18 years, was fired due to a sickness absence - according to the petition's founder Lesley Sweeney.
Welwyn resident Ms Sweeney thinks it is "totally unfair that Michele, our excellent and helpful postie, has been sacked for her sickness absences".
"Illness is unavoidable and should not result in the loss of her job which she has performed well for years," she wrote.
Ms Hedges did appeal her case to Royal Mail but it was ruled internally that there were grounds for dismissal.
Royal Mail would not confirm that Ms Hedges was fired due to illness but did say: "Although we cannot comment on the details of individual cases, we can confirm that the correct procedures were followed in this matter."
Her representative Tom Walker, Communications Workers Union branch secretary of the northern home counties, says there were mitigating circumstances that should have been taken into consideration.
"She has a blemish-free record of over 20 years," he said.
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"All she needed was a bit of help after the bereavement of her father-in-law, which she didn't get.
"And instead they sacked a dedicated and trained employee, who is appreciated by a large section of the community."
Ms Hedges will now deliver her last mail to Welwyn this week, which has hit older residents like Kate Nugent particularly hard.
"We're all up in arms about it," Welwyn resident Ms Nugent said.
"She takes care of the older people around here.
"There was one of the neighbours, who was behaving very strangely, and she notified people about it.
"We would urge Royal Mail to please, please reconsider."
Her union representative is currently considering going to an industrial tribunal with Ms Hedges' case.
To sign the petition, go to Change.org here.
The WHT asked Ms Hedges to get in touch regarding her sacking, but she was advised not to speak to the press about her employment termination as it may jeopardise any case that she could bring.