Morrisons rules ‘need to be looked at’ after Drummer Lee Rigby tribute row

Adam Austin from Buckland who has been suspended from his job at Morrisons because he wore a Help for Heroes wristband and a pin poppy in memory of drummer Lee Rigby who was murdered in Woolwich''.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (131441-1)

Adam Austin from Buckland who has been suspended from his job at Morrisons because he wore a Help for Heroes wristband and a pin poppy in memory of drummer Lee Rigby who was murdered in Woolwich''.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131441-1)

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

PICTURES: Portsmouth shows its support with celebrations on Armed Forces Day

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Suspending a supermarket worker who refused to remove a poppy pin and a charity wristband was ‘a bit ridiculous’, the president of the Portsmouth South branch of the Royal British Legion said today.

As reported yesterday, Adam Austin, 28, was wearing the badge and a Help For Heroes wristband while on his shift at Morrisons in Victory Retail Park, Portsmouth, on Monday.

He was wearing them in tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby, who was murdered in Woolwich last Wednesday.

But he was told to remove them because he was breaking Morrisons Supermarket’s dress code, and when he refused he was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing, due to take place on Friday.

Chris Purcell, president of the RBL Portsmouth (south) branch, said he could see Morrisons’ point of view.

He said charity badges and wristbands should be allowed depending on what department the employee works in, despite the badge being unlikely to fall off.

But he added: ‘To suspend him I think was a bit ridiculous, but rules are rules.’

‘I think they should be looked at.’

Chris and his committee organise the annual poppy collection each October and November in remembrance of Armistice Day, and to raise funds for veterans and serving armed forces personnel.

They collect at every Portsmouth supermarket, including the one where Mr Austin works.

Mr Purcell said he was very grateful for all the supermarkets which allowed the RBL’s volunteers to collect at their stores.

He added: ‘I would like to thank them all, and the people from Portsmouth for being so generous.’

Morrisons yesterday issued a statement which said: ‘We currently ask that colleagues adhere to a company dress code which precludes bracelets and pins.

‘However, we have reviewed these guidelines and colleagues working in non-fresh food preparation areas will now be permitted to wear a registered charity wristband.’

Help for Heroes said it would not be commenting on the incident.

The Royal British Legion is holding a remembrance service on Friday, June 6, at the memorial stone near South Parade Pier from 10.30am to commemorate the anniversary of the D-Day landings.

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