Morrisons let Drummer Lee Rigby tribute row man back to work

Adam Austin
Adam Austin
Detail from an exact replica of Lord Nelson's diamond Chelengk jewels. Picture:Andrew Matthews/Press Association

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A SUPERMARKET worker who was suspended for wearing a poppy badge in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby has been allowed to return to work.

Morrisons let Adam Austin off the hook after announcing staff can wear them if they aren’t employed in food departments.

He will start work again today.

As previously reported, Mr Austin, 28, a checkout worker at the Morrisons store in Victory Retail Park, Portsmouth, was suspended on Monday after he violated the company’s dress code.

Mr Austin was told to take off the poppy pin badge he wore to work, but after doing so, he put on a Help for Heroes bracelet and refused to remove it.

Mr Austin said he had been wearing the items in tribute to Drummer Rigby, a soldier who was murdered in Woolwich, south-east London, on May 22.

Mr Austin has received a letter of apology from the company, which says he no longer has to attend a disciplinary meeting.

‘It’s great news,’ he said.

‘I have got my letter of apology.

‘I just wanted to support the friends and family of Lee Rigby.

‘You are supposed to stand together and appreciate times when people die.

‘People are scared of standing up for themselves and to the government.’

In a statement published on Facebook, Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said he had received emails from people expressing their concerns about the company’s decision.

He said: ‘Quite simply we got the balance wrong.

‘Our existing rules on wearing badges are there for a good reason.

‘We make lots of fresh food in store and no customer would want a badge dropping in to their food by mistake.

‘It is a food safety issue. And all supermarkets and restaurants apply the same common sense rules. But we were applying the rules to all colleagues.

‘And that’s not right.

‘So we have changed them. Colleagues not preparing fresh food will now be able to wear a pin badge or bracelet to show their support for registered charities like Help for Heroes.

‘So Adam can return to work and wear his poppy with pride.’

Meanwhile, workers at the Portsmouth store said it had been a difficult few days.

One employee, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘People were winding down their windows, spitting and called us scum.

‘It’s not fair.

‘The tension is high. We are looking over our shoulders.’