Royal Mail and racial bullying


Royal Mail and racial bullying

Written by: Harmit Athwal


On 25 May 2004, Mahmood Siddiqui, a 59-year-old postal worker at the Royal Mail sorting office in Harlow, was awarded £178,542 in compensation for racial discrimination by an employment tribunal.

Mahmood had suffered four years of racist abuse at the hands of his white colleagues which the tribunal found was ‘vicious and sly’. He was routinely called a ‘paki’ and a ‘spear chucking rag-head’, his car was vandalised and he and his family threatened in a campaign of abuse aimed at making him seek a job transfer. In October 1998, Mahmood, after suffering from stress, took sick leave and retired from work in 2002.

Mahmood complained to managers about the abuse, which started in 1994, but became worse when he suffered an injury that left him unable to carry heavy loads. But they failed to act. The Royal Mail only took action after hidden cameras were installed in the office (in 1998) and some of the men were caught on film and then disciplined. The tribunal found that his immediate manager gave ‘tacit support’ to the abuse and was reluctant to investigate the allegations. A Royal Mail internal review found that managers had failed to act on at least ten occasions when faced with allegations of racist abuse. The tribunal ruled that the Royal Mail took ‘no effective action of any sort’.

The written ruling of the employment tribunal found that ‘throughout the case the term banter was used as in “sorting office banter”. We consider this to have often been employed as a euphemism for the specific racial abuse that Mr Siddiqui received. He alone, as the only ethnic-minority employee on the night shift, was singled out for racial abuse. In short, there is no reason to doubt that Mr Siddiqui was the subject of a vicious campaign.’

Similar case before

The experience of Mahmood Siddiqui comes two years after the family of 26-year-old postal worker Jermaine Lee won £50,000 in compensation after launching a posthumous claim for racial discrimination against Royal Mail. The behaviour of staff at Royal Mail’s Aston sorting office in Birmingham, according to an internal report, led Jermaine Lee to commit suicide in November 1999. An inquest in 2000 found that he had taken his own life. In a note he accused his colleagues of bullying over an eight-month period. In a statement at the time Consignia (then the name of Royal Mail) had said: ‘It is with extreme shock, regret and sorrow that we found the actions of some employees contributed to Jermaine’s decision to take his own life. He did suffer harassment and bullying at work and there are strong indications that this weighed heavily on his mind.’

The Royal Mail, when asked about similarities in the two cases of Mahmood Siddiqui and Jermaine Lee, said they would ‘not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination. In recent years Royal Mail has been working hard to improve all its procedures to prevent a case like Mahmood Siddiqui occurring again.’ Satya Katara, Director of Diversity, said: ‘A dedicated team was established at Royal Mail in January 2003 to spearhead a number of new initiatives, starting with a new Bullying and Harassment procedure that has been developed and widely communicated, with commitment from the unions.’ Royal Mail says that it is now running training programmes on unacceptable behaviours, has a 24-hour help-line, training for managers to spot bullying and a policy of dealing with complaints in four weeks. Katara concluded: ‘The business is totally committed to ensuring that a case like Mahmood Siddiqui never happens again.’ After the investigation into the death of Jermaine Lee fifty recommendations were also made including a new complaints procedure and training schemes to tackle bullying.

Related links

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The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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abbdullah nassoro
abbdullah nassoro
51 years ago

i am a victim of harrasment and bullying at royal mail i need help they did not offer me any helpline number they did not apply their policy when i couldnt stand it any more they sacked me the next day based on my attendance not being good enough they promised to investigate the bullying the day before that and then they just ignored it i need an address so that i can send material to you to show you how they are treating me in my bulling appeal it is scandelous your abdul

annonymous
annonymous
13 years ago

i am a female worker fo rroyal mail i have ben bullied by a man for a year every1 knows but nothing is being done because this man is a gem to royal mail cause he does al their overtime so how can we win when the bosses always stick up for the men because all the bosses are men themselfs we got no chance

annonymous
annonymous
13 years ago

I am a female collegue for royal male and i have been bullied by a male collegue for the last 6/8 months, i didnt have to repot him as another collegue did , but nothing was done about it hes still there still being the usual bully as he is , so where is this bullying scheme helping us females. How can royal mail say they can help us females when they put all males in charge when all males stick by each other anyway we got no chance of getting out of being bullied .

Poetry
Poetry
9 years ago

Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your web site by chance, and I am stunned why this coincidence didn’t happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

master irfan aslam
9 years ago

too be honest weith you nothing is going too be done until i move back too pakistan. i was born here i work at royal mail in doncaster through an agency called angard staffing solutions someone called me an paki paki but if i report it the english managers will only support him because he is from the same species try and get in touch with me if you can thanks master irfan aslam living in england

master irfan aslam
9 years ago

too be honest with you nothing is going too be done until i move back too pakistan. i was born here i work at royal mail in doncaster through an agency called angard staffing solutions someone called me an paki paki but if i report it the english managers will only support him because he is from the same species try and get in touch with me if you can thanks master irfan aslam living in england

master irfan aslam
9 years ago

too be honest with you nothing is going too be done until i move back too pakistan. i was born here i work at royal mail in doncaster through an agency called angard staffing solutions someone called me an paki paki but if i report it the english managers will only support him because he is from the same species try and get in touch with me if you can thanks master irfan aslam living in england sorry for any spelling mistakes goodbye

Richard blundell
Richard blundell
9 years ago

Why don’t you all go to someone higher up? You have human rights. Royal mail have a policy and a legal agreement to do these thing so if they are not being done, you need to keep gokng to the next step up even if that involves the law. Sorry people but you are the victim and you don’t deserve it. These cases are absolutely terrible and make me sick as a current employee looking towards management. You can’t go on like this and despite how everyone talks about royal mail, it is certain individuals in royal mail… NOT EVERYONE! We are really trying to improve this for the future of the business

david7@hotmail.co.uk
david7@hotmail.co.uk
6 years ago

I am white Irish gay and used to love my job..I now suffer stress with the thought of going into it the royal mail is a nasty place..

Cornelia
Cornelia
5 years ago

I was bullied, harassed and suffered racial abuse from Feb 1994 to March 1995. I was assaulted by one of their male workers and worked for 5 months with a dislocated shoulder, after this scumbag always constantly slapping me on my back, when I told him to stop. Male managers did nothing. I lost 3 stones in weight, as I couldn’t get overtime, co-workers constantly bullied, harassed me.

Cornelia
Cornelia
5 years ago

The company refused to admit liability. I try to claim compensation, but realise it would effect my benefits. There was a big, big cover up over my injuries. Female co workers have affairs with the male managers, who then make troubles for me. Constantly harassed endlessly. Why should we have to have sex with the managers and duty, in order to get the overtime? When listed, if ever my name was crossed off, without realising it, until the next day when I signed in for duty. Disgusting behaviour. Duty always constantly lying to cover up their incompetance.

Neal
Neal
5 years ago

Yes. But how can you prove a discrimination if no one speaks with you and you have no witness
They can say this person not very chatty and has not good haracter. We try to speak but he always not friendly.
How can you prove its because of your nationality.
Can you tell my?
Onli dairy can be like evidence?

Pam
Pam
4 years ago

A case from 2011 involving Royal Mail and atos abusing the human rights act, this cowardly act was covered by the business and it’s union’s with the use of the agenda for growth Bill.
This still on going case led the then Conservative, Liberal coalition government to distancing it self from the developing scandal with the business sold at an a loss to the public.
THE TRUTH IS THE BUSSINESS IS ABOVE THE LAW

VictimofRacism
VictimofRacism
1 year ago

Still happens as I can see from my personal experience. The managers and staff involved, union rep is a instigator. If everyone’s involved they can’t fire them all can they that’s there motto. The stuff we have to put up with just to make a living in this country.

Mark
Mark
7 months ago

I was sacked because a white person of the public saw a black postman urinating out of site in an alley way at night. They never asked me what happened just get rid of him. This companies name should be changed to National Front Mail. I’m only an agency worker and with this COVID situation this is disgraceful.

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