King George Hospital staff consider strike action after porter fired for allegedly stealing fried egg
PUBLISHED: 17:48 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:00 13 February 2017
Staff at King George Hospital are considering striking after a hospital porter was sacked over allegedly stealing an egg sandwich worth £4.
Aldren Tomlinson, of Forest Gate, had worked at the hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes for 15 years.
The GMB union says in January Mr Tomlinson ordered a fried egg on toast and a cup of tea before realising that he had forgotten his wallet.
He allegedly told canteen staff that he would pay for the items later, which they agreed too.
But hospitality outsourcing company Sodexo disputes this and ruled at his disciplinary hearing that Mr Tomlinson had not been granted permission to take the food.
They say that the canteen staff member allegedly did not hear Mr Tomlinson properly and hadn’t given permission.
The father-of-three learned that he had been sacked on Tuesday by Sodexo at which point he broke down in tears.
Michael Dooley, GMB representative for Redbridge, said he feared Mr Tomlinson will not be able to get another job.
He said: “Aldren never tried to hide what he did but it is clear this was a simple misunderstanding for which the company, Sodexo, have not in our view dealt with proportionally.
“Aldren has a clean work record of 15 years and is now unemployed and branded a thief.
“It makes my blood boil when I see criminals and repeat shoplifters who do not even get prosecuted and here we have a decent bloke losing his livelihood with little prospects of new employment for a misunderstanding over a four quid breakfast.”
Mr Tomlinson’s letter where he learned his fate, signed by Alan Brownlie, facilities manager, says: “The panel has taken into account your 15 years service and the remorse shown.
“It is clear that there was a misunderstanding, although on balance the panel believes that the misunderstanding was yours in that a cursory comment and nod could be interpreted as requesting permission and receiving permission and confirmed.
“Additionally, your request was not directed at somebody in authority, and furthermore as you stated you did not hear a response then the panel is of the opinion that permission was not granted and furthermore you did not take sufficient action to ensure permission to take the food was granted.”
Workers met on Tuesday to discuss what further action they want to take in protest of his dismissal, which could include going on strike.
A petition circulating the hospital, which has been signed by over 50 staff members, says: “We the undersigned are appalled by the recent decision of King George Hospital soft facilities management to instantly dismiss Aldren Tomlinson, a porter with 15 years unblemished loyal service, for the “theft” of breakfast egg on toast valued at £4.”
Mr Dooley said GMB were organising a meeting, and that staff had reacted “angrily”.
A Sodexo spokeswoman said: “Any misconduct by an employee is addressed through our internal disciplinary procedure, and if an individual is not satisfied with the outcome they have the right to appeal the decision.
“We can confirm an employee has been dismissed and that individual still has the opportunity to appeal the decision.
“We are unable to comment any further.”
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