Alarm Anne Marie
1 November 2011, 08:36
A ''Walter Mitty'' railway worker who ''fictitiously'' claimed he was sacked for removing a shopping trolley from a track has withdrawn his claim for unfair dismissal.
Ian Faletto claimed he was sacked after 27 years' service by South West Trains for removing the trolley at Lymington railway station in the New Forest, where he was ticket office clerk, in March this year.
Many local people supported his campaign to get his job back and New Forest MP Desmond Swayne handed a 8,400 petition to Parliament in support of the award-winning worker.
But after he was presented with new evidence, his counsel advised him to drop his claim, prompting a strong statement from SWT who described the allegations by Mr Faletto as ''fictitious Walter-Mitty-style claims'' and the company stressed he was not paid off.
It said it was angry about the trolley claim, that Mr Faletto stepping on to tracks were ''fool hardy actions'' and that it was ''doubly upsetting that many well-meaning people in community were so misled''.
Mr Faletto, 50, had alleged he contacted the signalman to turn off the power and then removed the trolley to prevent an accident.
Speaking outside the employment tribunal building in Southampton, Mr Faletto, from Totton, maintained that the trolley was on the railway track.
''The way they have treated me after 27 years' momentous service is very disappointing.
''It's very difficult to fight such a large company. They have basically said they have other evidence and I have been strongly advised by my counsel to withdraw.''
Director of SWT Jake Kelly said outside the same building:
''We are pleased that Mr Faletto has finally withdrawn his case, which proves definitively that there was never any substance to the claims he made.
''However, we remain angry at the way these fictitious Walter-Mitty-style claims were so quickly reported as fact. It is also doubly upsetting that many well-meaning people in community were so misled.
''This was a matter of principle and integrity and we were fully prepared to outline the truth to the employment tribunal.
''We are confident that they had heard all of the evidence, they would have found in our favour. For the avoidance of doubt, we have made no payment to settle this case and nor have we ever considered doing so.
''As we have maintained all along, this case involved a serious breach of safety. The fact is that there is no evidence to show that there was a trolley on the track, as Mr Faletto claimed, and the safety of our passengers was not compromised at any point.
''The only safety risk was caused by Mr Faletto's foolhardy actions in knowingly stepping down onto an area of live track for no justifiable reason.
''No 'trolley' incident was recorded in the station log or reported to management at the time - or even when Mr Faletto was first questioned by management.
''There was no evidence either of any call to a signalman or station.
''We are not interested in a box-ticking or jobsworth approach to these issues and the decision to dismiss Mr Faletto was not taken lightly.
''It is very sad that an individual who was recognised by the railway has acted in this way.''