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Sacked Lymington station ticket office clerk Ian Faletto will continue to fight for his job
HE may have been sacked from his beloved job, but Ian Faletto is still fighting. Despite the prospect of a messy battle with his former employer South West Trains, the award-winning employee, buoyed by community support, has said he will continue to fight for his job at Lymington railway station.
Mr Faletto, 49, was sacked by the company for removing a shopping trolley that had been dumped on the line near the station.
The dismissal prompted a campaign and a 6,500-name petition led by the Rev Alex Russell and thousands of others including New Forest MP Desmond Swayne calling for him to be reinstated.
Mr Faletto, who lives in Totton, said he has been overwhelmed by the response.
“I never realised I was so popular or so highly regarded or thought of.”
Referring to his dismissal, he said: “I was shocked they were making an issue out of what had happened.
“I had done my damnedest to prevent a rail accident. I know of people that have done similar things and it has not been a problem.
“I was acting in good faith.”
But despite the high-profile controversy, he still hopes to return to his job.
“I love it. Every day is different. I love meeting different people and dealing with different things. Also the fact that I am doing something – I like to be doing something all the time.
“At the moment I’m trying to find things to do. It’s hard.”
A South West Trains spokesman said: "We can understand the feelings of people in the local the community and we have no doubt their response to what has been reported about this particular case is genuine. However, this does not alter the position that the facts of the case are fundamentally different from the seriously inaccurate picture painted to date.
"It would be entirely wrong for any disciplinary decisions, including one involving a serious breach of safety, to be influenced by external parties or factors. As we have made clear, our internal consideration of the case is closed and we are ready to ensure the full facts are made public at an Employment Tribunal if required."
SWT have said the facts of the case are ‘fundamentally different to the picture that has been painted to date’.
A company spokesman added: “We are ready to ensure the full facts are made public at an employment tribunal and would defend our position vigorously if required.”
But Mr Faletto said: “Everything I have said is true. I think they will try to throw back anything they can to defend themselves.”
After 27 years on the railway, Ian has amassed a rather impressive collection of trophies and awards, testifying to his commitment and outstanding service.
The former ticket office clerk has also invested his own money in the improvements, buying sweets for the waiting room, paint for the floors, carpets, heaters and even putting his own Christmas tree there.
• Kelli Crockard, CIPD director of KJC Consultancy, the Bournemouth-based HR and employment law consultants has volunteered her services for free to advise Mr Faletto how best to approach his tribunal.
She said: “Employment law should be there to protect both employees and employers. I find it astounding that a man who clearly takes a lot of pride in his job, can be treated this way.”
The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union is pledging support.