Ipswich/Stowmarket: Postman wins legal battle with Royal Mail over work boots
11:00 12 January 2013
A POSTMAN has won a five-year legal battle against Royal Mail after being injured while making deliveries in slippery boots.
Clive Davey of Murray Road, Ipswich, is one of 15 postmen across the country who took action after the introduction of the Magnum Boots to its workforce in 2007, despite the fact that the footwear had already performed poorly in trials.
Mr Davey, 47, who has now been awarded £2,228 in compensation, slipped and injured his shoulder just minutes after pulling on the low-grip footwear in 2008.
He said: “For the first three years I worked for Royal Mail I was happy with the equipment but then they decided to introduce the Magnum Boots.
“Almost straight away I heard how colleagues were having problems with them so I refused to wear them.
“But my manager insisted and so I gave in. On the first day or wearing the boots, just 45 minutes into my daily route, I slipped and fell on a standard manhole cover.”
Mr Davey, who still delivers in Stowmarket, said he had previously had surgery on his shoulder and is now considered partially disabled after the fall exacerbated the injury.
He added: “I don’t understand why Royal Mail didn’t take notice as soon as the complaints started coming in. It wasn’t just one or two but dozens of people who said that the boots were unsafe.
“My shoulder will never be the same again but I love my job so I will continue to deliver the mail. Thankfully I now have proper boots to do it in again; it is a shame it took so much effort to make people listen.”
The postman, who has worked for Royal Mail for eight years, said his case was a victory for the “small man”.
He added: “The person who ordered the boots should have tried to walk ten miles in them on a wet day as I do so often and then tell me if they still thought they were safe. My shoes and boots are the most important piece of equipment a mailman has. I don’t think it is too much to ask that they are well made and safe to wear.”
A High Court judge, sitting at Winchester County Court, ruled in favour of one of the Royal Mail employees after a four day trial. The postal service subsequently decided to settle the remaining 14 cases – including Mr Davey’s – without going to court.
Helen Stanton from national law firm Simpson Millar, who handled all of the cases, said: “Despite the fact that Royal Mail’s own independent assessments showed that the footwear was dangerous, the company still denied liability and dragged these cases out for years.
“Only after a judge decided in the favour or its employees did Royal Mail agree to settle the remaining 14 cases. It is a positive outcome but the company could have saved itself a lot of time and money, not to mention the goodwill of its staff had it acknowledged its responsibility sooner.”
A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “The safety of our employees is a top priority for Royal Mail. Royal Mail only procures safety wear from trusted and reputable suppliers. A range of boots and shoes are available for our people and these are regularly updated based on the latest designs available. As a result, the boots that were available five years ago are no longer used by our postmen and women.”