A DRIVER has told how he was left in "utter shock" after being sacked for raising concerns about the length of time he was spending behind the wheel.

Jesse Meredith, a former delivery driver with Harvey & Brockless Ltd, a specialist food company, has been awarded more than £30,000 by an employment tribunal after he launched a claim for unfair dismissal.

The 30-year-old, who has unable to find work since his dismissal in January 2014, raised concerns when he was asked to make an additional trip to Aberdeen from Lanarkshire on top of his usual delivery runs.

He complained to bosses about the length of time he would be working but was told by his manager there would be "repercussions" if he did not make the deliveries. He eventually decided to make the drive because he feared losing his job - meaning he worked from 5.45am to 8.45pm that day.

A few days later his manager turned up at his depot and told him he was being sacked because of his "attitude and behaviour" on the day of the Aberdeen run.

Employment Judge Ian McPherson awarded him a total of £30,787.20 after finding that he was sacked for raising health and safety concerns and making a public interest disclosure.

Mr Meredith, who now lives in Worcestershire, said: "To begin with I thought everything was fine, they told me to just do what I could.

"It was only when I said I had done what I could that it became a problem and I felt the threat of unemployment.

"I was worried about losing my job so I made the delivery - and in the end I was sacked anyway.

"When my boss turned up at the depot and sacked me I was just in utter shock."

The tribunal heard that Mr Meredith, who began working with the firm in May 2013, worked out of a depot in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire.

On the day of the incident which led to him being sacked, he arrived at the depot and was told there had been a mistake at another depot and the pallets had arrived at Bellshill.

His line manager, Kevin Darkes, told him he would have to deliver the items to various destinations including Dundee and Aberdeen on top of his usual deliveries.

After making the drop at Dundee at around 2pm, Mr Meredith called Mr Drakes to express concerns about then driving to Aberdeen and the time he would return home.

Mr Darkes told him he "would be liable for any losses incurred by the company if he failed to make the deliveries and that there would be repercussions for his actions if he did not make those delivered".

Mr Meredith then contacted HR and another manager but was told deliveries were a matter for his line manager so he decided to make the delivery for fear of losing his job,

After starting work at 5.45am that day, he finally returned home at 8.45pm.

However, five days later, Mr Darkes visited the Bellshill depot and told the driver that he was being dismissed "with immediate effect because of his attitude and behaviour on January 24".

In a written judgment on the case, Judge McPherson said: "We are satisfied that the raising of health and safety concerns ... was the principal reason for Mr Meredith's dismissal by Harvey & Brockless on 29 January 2014."

He added: "The fact that on 24 January 2014 he made protected disclosures, in the public interest, to employees of Harvey & Brockless, tending to show that a criminal offence was likely to be committed, being breach of drivers' hours, that the respondents were failing in their legal obligations towards him, and that his health and safety was likely to be endangered was another reason for the firm dismissing Mr Meredith."

The judge instructed that the judgment be passed to the DVLA for consideration.

A spokesman for Harvey & Brockless Ltd said: "Harvey and Brockless Limited has an exemplary health and safety record and carries out regular audits to ensure it complies with the relevant legislation.

"The company and its legal advisors Peninsula Legal Services have formerly lodged an appeal against this judgement."