Royal Mail yesterday denied discrimination after turning down a student for the role of holiday cover postman due to his lack of ‘professional walking experience’.
Mark Pye, studying for an MSc, was left fuming when a 19 year old working for Royal Mail’s recruitment partner told him his CV failed to demonstrated the necessary experience of ‘putting one foot in front of the other whilst holding a bag’.
‘I just wanted something to tide me over the summer before I start my second year,’ said Mr Pye. ‘The interviewer asked me whether I’d done any walking in the past, and I told her I was an avid hiker, and had completed the South Downs Trail only last month. How was I to know that recreational walking couldn’t be considered as relevant experience, unless it was walking up and down strangers’ front paths?’
A spokesperson for the recruitment agency said ‘While we cannot comment on individual cases, we had 398 applicants for this particular position and the standard of applicants was exceptionally high. Many of them had an NVQ in Professional Gait Studies, and some could cite occasions in previous roles when they’d walked through flowerbeds, called in sick when the weather was slightly too warm or too cold, or had to deconstruct successive governments’ policy on the universal postal service to unsuspecting strangers.’
The Royal Mail refused to confirm rumours that former cabinet minister Chris Huhne was among the unsuccessful candidates. ‘Although we can tell you that one applicant had recent experience of trying to get shit off his shoes,’ concluded the spokesman.