A WAREHOUSE worker who was sacked after he broke his ankle trying to change the radio station at work has been awarded almost £8000 for unfair dismissal.

George Hope was on shift at the United Biscuits factory in Glasgow, which produces brands such as McVities and Jacobs, when he fell after climbing on to a pallet to reach the radio.

The 64-year-old, from Uddingston, was later dismissed because bosses believed he had tried to mislead them about what happened because it breached health and safety regulations.

However, he has now won his case for unfair and wrongful dismissal at an employment tribunal, securing a £7,844.87 payout.

Employment judge Giles Woolfson found that the company’s decision to sack Mr Hope was not a “reasonable response” to what happened.

The tribunal heard that the worker, who had nine years’ service with the biscuit firm, was working the nightshift on April 11 last year when the accident happened.

A written judgment on the case states that, just after he was injured, Mr Hope told a manager that he had laid a pallet down, “tried to step over it and went over on my ankle”.

However, bosses later looked at CCTV footage of the incident.

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The judgment states: “The footage showed [Mr Hope] climbing up on to a pallet which was upturned at the side of a cage, stretching up to reach a radio and then falling or slipping off the pallet and sliding down the side of the cage with some force, but remaining upright, and holding on to the cage to steady himself for a few seconds before turning around, attempting to walk away and stumbling forward.”

A health and safety investigation then took place and Mr Hope provided bosses with more information about what happened.

However, he was later suspended from work and subjected to disciplinary proceedings for “knowingly providing the business with a false statement”.

Mr Hope claimed his statement on the night of the incident was made while he was in a lot of pain.

But he was dismissed for gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing on May 29.

Another employee was also dismissed after being accused of “colluding” with him on the night of the incident.

Judge Woolfson said the firm “did not act reasonably”.

He said: “[United Biscuit’s] primary concern was its belief that, on the night of the accident, the claimant made a conscious decision to hide the fact that he had carried out an unsafe act by colluding with [another employee] and misinforming witnesses.

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“I have concluded, however, that the [firm] did not have reasonable grounds for that belief.”

He added: “In all of the circumstances, and notwithstanding the fact that the claimant had carried out an unsafe act and provided some information which did not reflect the CCTV footage, I conclude that the [firm] did not act reasonably in treating the conduct of the claimant as a sufficient reason for his dismissal.”

The judge had initially awarded Mr Hope a much larger sum, but it was reduced by 75 per cent due to his “contributory conduct” in the case.

The worker told The Herald that he was “pleased” with the decision of the employment tribunal.

He said he now wants to put the incident behind him and move on with his life.

His solicitor Brian McLaughlin, who represented him on behalf of the GMB union, said: “I am delighted the tribunal found in Mr Hope’s favour and he can now use his award to move on from this sorry incident.”