A POSTAL workers strike across a large part of Scotland could impact on the postal vote before the May 5 Holyrood elections, it has emerged.

Urgent talks are being sought to avert the postal strike over Royal Mail's refusal to reinstate sacked Fife postman David Mitchell.

And the Herald understands that if the issue is unable to be resolved the first of the one-day strikes has been pencilled in for May 3, two days before the Scottish Parliament elections.

It would affect deliveries across the EH (Edinburgh and Lothians) TD (Borders) FK (Stirling and Central) and KY (Glenrothes and Fife) postcode areas.

HeraldScotland: A Royal Mail postal worker. Picture: Katie Collins/PA Wire

Mr Mitchell, 57, of Chance Inn, won his case for unfair dismissal but the employer has refused to let him return to his round.

Strikes have already been held by his former colleagues at Cupar delivery office.

Mr Mitchell had worked for the Royal Mail for 27 years until he was sacked over allegations of theft.

He took his former bosses to an employment tribunal, winning £57,000 in compensation and lost earnings.

Judge Ian McFatridge also ordered the postal service to reinstate Mr Mitchell, twice, as he said there were no reasonable grounds for the belief he had stolen mail, but they have failed to do so.

Around 2,500 members of the Communication Workers Union were balloted on industrial action in the wake of what a union leader described as one of the biggest injustices ever involving Royal Mail and a member.

The CWU confirmed it now had a mandate for strike action, which could see a series of one-day walkouts affecting mail processing, distribution and delivery.

The union has 28 days to set a strike date and must give the Royal Mail seven days' notice.

The CWU has now written to the Royal Mail seeking urgent talks to resolve the issue.

But Royal Mail has repeatedly stated that trust had broken down between employer and employee and it had a duty to protect the mail.

A spokesman said: “Royal Mail is very disappointed that CWU members across four postcodes in the east of Scotland have voted for industrial action over an employment tribunal case.

“Any action or threat of action is damaging to our business.

“In this case, there was sufficient evidence for us to dismiss Mr Mitchell.

“Four out of five test pieces of mail for Mr Mitchell’s delivery frame went missing on three separate occasions.

“All other test items in this office for other employees were delivered correctly.

“We are continuing to talk to our people and unions about this matter.

“We have robust contingency plans in place to ensure we continue to deliver a high quality service to affected postcode areas.”

The postal vote, makes up between 20% and 50% of the counted votes. Around 800,000 people, or 19% of participants, voted by post in the independence referendum.