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Carphone Warehouse: stop victimising trade unionists at Wednesbury! May 8, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Union busting, Wednesbury.

Two CWU members are being victimised by the company for trade union activity at the Wednesbury Logistics Centre.  One, Sulinder Kumar, has already been sacked (though he is appealing), and another – CWU’s rep on site – is currently facing disciplinary proceedings on a similar charge. The charges relate to the fact that both members were willing to challenge unfair management practices through raising grievances – as is their right.  Local managers, apparently believing they will not be held to account, have decided that sacking is an appropriate response.

Wednesbury is unique in Carphone Warehouse for the level of hostility directed at active union members.  By contrast, at another site, a recently accredited rep was welcomed as an asset: a much more modern, mature response.  At the Wednesbury site, all levels of management are implicated in the victimsations.  In consequence, the union is demanding that the cases be put into urgent review at a higher level, and that CEO Charles Dunstone takes responsibility for the outcome.

The CWU will vigorously defend our members.  We are building awareness and support for the campaign within the union and amongst the general public, and are ready to mobilise supporters publicly if necessary. Join the supporters’ facebook group here.

As part of our awareness raising programme, on May 1, International Workers’ Day, CWU members from Wednesbury and the local branch spoke at Wolverhampton Trades Council’s May Day Rally.  Here, Birmingham, Black Country and Worcester Branch Secretary Dave Salt can be seen addressing the rally.

DSalt speaking



1. TRUEWORKER - May 11, 2009

How can CWU have a “rep” on site when they are not officially recognised by CPW? You can only have reps if you have an official relationship with the company.

tomcwu - May 11, 2009

No, that’s completely untrue – as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, as a union, we’re well aware of the rules on these matters. Wherever a CWU member wants to take up the role of runion ep, and we train and accredit them as such, there we have a rep, it’s that simple. Workers have a right to be part of an organised union wherever they work, not just where employers say so. That’s the point.

TRUE WORKER - May 14, 2009

But internally CPW will not view these people as Union Reps – they are simply Employees. I could claim to represent the Klingon Nation in CPW.. they’d equally not recognise me in that role either. Until you have official recognition from CPW (and you know that process) you may call these people CWU Reps but they are NOT viewed as such within the company. Any training etc for CWU has to be undertaken as holiday for them etc – if you were recognised then, obviously the company has a legal obligation to give them time off for this. There’s no official CWU presence in the company and if they are to talk to staff about “union issues”, they’ll do so in free time.

2. tomcwu - May 21, 2009

First of all, did I say that the company ‘recognises’ them as reps? No. I said they were reps, you said they were not because the union does not have an ‘official relationship with the company’. But, as I have said, you were wrong – whether or not we have such a relationship doesn’t impact on whether they are our reps.

The reason you cannot claim to represent the Klingon nation (the people we get commenting on this site eh, readers?) is that there is no Klingon nation, and you are not – I hope – a Klingon. However, since there is a union, and we nominate some of our members as our representatives, they are union reps, get it? It’s not rocket science.

Just because we are not recognised does not make them one bit less reps. In fact, it says alot for their commitment and character that they are prepared to use their own spare time to be reps – and we’re proud to have these sorts of people with us.

Secondly, an employment tribunal will recognise our reps as such in any discrimination case – so it is not just us who recognise them as reps, they are recognised as such by independent statutory bodies.

Thirdly, they have the legal rights of a union rep to represent members both inside and outside the company, and to do so as a union rep. This is a legal right which they only have as accredited reps.

3. wayne aspinall - May 28, 2009

Iv heard about all the on goings at CPW Wednesbury Site from a new member of staff that was employed by CPW and based at Wednesbury

The management dont have any respect for the employees and just look down at them as if they were below them. I guess it all stems from the top manager based at Wednesbury because he doesnt like his managers socialising with employees and would rather them to distant their relationships from the rest of the employees. Wednesbury site needs to get CWU on board to resolve the issues and i’m sure that Charles Dunston doesnt have a clue what the atmosphere is like or how his employees are being segregated. This new member to our company has only been with us for a few months and has worked on several projects and has already received recognition for outstanding work from Richard Branson himself, which goes to show that CPW dont care which skilled workers are forced out of the company.

So you all need to get CWU on board as far as im concerned but your loss is our gain as we may only be a small company but all 70 of us are treated as family which CPW have forgotten.

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