Thursday 16 May 2019

"What kind of games are you playing with human beings' lives?"

This is Part 2 of Pete Murray's story.
Hope Farm Road Post Office
When we left him in mid-December last year, Pete had been suspended as Postmaster of both the Grove Road Post Office in Wallasey and Hope Farm Road Post Office in Great Sutton.

Pete was suspended after a series of increasing and inexplicable discrepancies at his Hope Farm Road branch which ran into the tens of thousands of pounds. He had been running the Grove Road Post Office for six years perfectly happily.

Between 2016 and 2018 Pete claims he repeatedly tried to get the Post Office to help him with his Horizon problems at his Hope Farm Road branch, to no avail.

Pete wrote up part 1 of his story for this blog in mid-December 2018.

On 20 Dec 2018, Pete suffered a stress-related stroke. At that stage his contracts manager Paul Williams still hadn't found the time to come and see him.

On 4 Jan 2019 Pete finally met with Paul Williams. The meeting was also attended by the "redoubtable"* Mark Baker from the Communications Workers Union.

After the meeting Mr Williams resumed radio silence and refused to communicate with Mr Murray.

On 29 January 2019, in frustration at the inaction and horrendous effect his suspension was having on his life and livelihood, Mr Murray wrote to Mr Williams once more:

"Dear Mr. Williams,

I am emailing you today, in desperation for a response, because, up to now, all the times that I have emailed you, or phoned the helpline to try to contact you, you have not once responded to my communications.

You suspended me on the 1st November, 2018, and said that the investigation would take 'up to 8 weeks'. After over 9 weeks, I finally got to have a meeting with you, after you cancelled at least twice. It is now almost another 4 weeks later, and still I have heard nothing. I emailed you last Thursday, and you have not even sent a one-line acknowledgement - well, not just last Thursday, you have never sent even an acknowledgment to my emails.

What kind of games are you playing with human beings' lives? You are withholding over £8000 in unpaid pay for October, and your suspending me has prevented me from working probably to the value of a further £25000 now, between 1st November and today - all money that could potentially have been used to pay off the alleged shortfalls in my branch. As I told you in the meeting at the start of January, I suffered a stroke in December, which is pretty much very highly likely a direct result of the stress caused by this situation which my family has been forced into.

Why are you punishing me, when I have been nothing but completely co-operative throughout this whole issue? I have had to start looking for a job, as I have landlords of two business premises chasing me for rent,

As I have said several times, as did Mark Baker, surely this issue could have been solved with an investigation without suspension, with my co-operation - basically as I asked from the start - could someone please come and help me look for these discrepancies?

The very fact that you have never replied to a single email on this subject, including from when I asked for help in my branch (just one of them!) and the email I sent you last Thursday, is nothing short of mind-numbingly soul-destroying - I cannot understand why this is dragging out so long and you continue to ignore my messages. This is grossly unfair, and if I am not back into my shops and earning again within a very short period now, I am going to have to declare myself bankrupt - probably also causing the refusal of my wife's current visa application, and if that happens, I really don't know what will happen to my family.

How long can you drag this on for, and what on earth is taking so long - it is completely unfair, and I please need answers from you this time.


Peter Murray"

Did Pete get a response from the elusive Mr Williams? Did he ever get reinstated? Does the Post Office still think he owes them £35,000? Read part three below.

Part 3: "Post Office Ltd see fit and well to treat me like this, pending an 'investigation' which appears not to be taking place."

You can read part 1 of Pete's story here: "The Post Office claim I owe them £35,000, despite never showing or telling me what I have done wrong."
You can read part 2 of Pete's story here: "What kind of games are you playing with human beings' lives?"

The Post Office have said they will not comment on individual cases.

* an epithet used in a ruling by a High Court judge to describe Mr Baker's ultimately successful efforts to expose a secret agreement between the Post Office and the NFSP.

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