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CWU march in Wednesbury: company closes site for the day July 20, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Union busting, Wednesbury.
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On Saturday, more than 100 CWU members and local trade unionists marched through Wednesbury to the gates of the Carphone Warehouse Logistics Centre to tell the company: Enough is enough!  Stop victimising CWU members for daring to speak out for justice at work!

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As we have previously reported, Sulinder Kumar, an active member of the CWU has been sacked, and Kulwinder Plaha, CWU rep on site, is threatened with the sack.  The charges?  The company is saying that the decision of both men to take out a grievance against a manager for unfair behaviour in a disciplinary proces is harrassment!  Local managers pursued a vindictive campaign, actively interviewing dozens of staff in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find someone who could credibly testify against the two.  Is this how Carphone responds to employees using its own procedures?

The company decided to close the site for the day in response to the CWU march.  This shows that the company does not want workers to see a demonstration of union strength; they’d rather they let work slip than let workers have contact with the union: a sad contrast to the attitude at other sites.

Marchers handed out around 800 leaflets explaining the situation to the public in Wednesbury, who were very supportive.  Rallies at the gates of the Wednesbury site and in the town centre were addressed by senior figures from the CWU, local trade unionists, and union members working at other Carphone sites who had travelled down to show their support.

The next stage in the campaign is a week of action, in which thousands more leaflets will be handed to the public outside Carphone stores up and down the country.  We will not allow our members to be victimised quietly. Carphone must account publicly for how it treats its workers.  Get in touch if you would like to help with our campaign!

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Comments»

1. Cllr Jim Bollan - July 20, 2009

Solidarity in your struggle brothers and sisters.
Cllr Jim Bollan
Scottish Socialist Party
West Dunbartonshire Council
Scotland.

2. Dave - July 30, 2009

We need to get everyone in stores aware of action being taken and do something as a company. The New Deal is a pay cut for staff and will mean 5k a year less for top sellers.

3. tomcwu - July 31, 2009

Hi Dave, if you want that to happen, you need to get in touch with us! Call me on 07894 461713.

4. Tulketh Mill Employee - August 14, 2009

Hi there – I happily work for CPW/TT and feel the need to comment on this ‘story’ as I fear that action that you are taking & promoting is potentially putting my own job at risk. By your handing out of leaflets creating a poorer opinion of the company for what should be an internal issue – you are potentially damaging sales/profits etc that ultimately pay my wages and keep me in a job. Given the current financial climate and huge job losses made by others within the industry – if you continue to taint the image of the company I work for – you could effectively be putting me out of work – could I ask that you stop this damaging behaviour and if you feel you need to support your member and take this matter further that you advise your member to, and I quote the government website on unfair dismissal: try to resolve the issue with your employer….. You “and your employer could try conciliation through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) where a specialist helps you sort out the problem.

Another option is individual arbitration, where an independent arbitrator hears the case and makes a legally binding decision. ”

Given the fact that this country has a procedure in place to make an independent legally binding decision on this matter – by taking this course of action you are simply looking to cause a PR storm un-neccasirly to try and justify your monthly fee & make a point for your member. It seems very childish and unprofessional to be ignoring courses of action that could actually resolve the issue and instead throw a 100 strong tantrum resulting in a day’s work lost by the business creating un-necessary pressure to hit targets by the rest of the staff further damaging the company reputation if customer expectations cannot be met.

I hope this post makes it through your moderation process as I do not think I have said anything that should be cut and wish Sulinder Kumar all the best with any further, hopefully more professional actions taken to restore his employment.

Regards,

Talked Mill Staff

5. tomcwu - August 17, 2009

Hi there, thanks for your comment. As you’ll see, we are in favour of free discussion on this site, as long as it’s polite.

However, with respect, there are a few misunderstandings here. The CWU has made every effort to resolve this by other means, repeatedly asking for the case to be put under independent review, at a high level. The company has not even replied to our letters. The phrase you quote is all very well, but the company needs to agree to enter into such a procedure, it is not one we can unilaterally declare.

This issue was going on for months before we took any public action whatsoever. I firmly do not believe that your job is at risk as a result of action we have taken: in fact, it is good for everyone’s job security that a line is drawn in the sand over the standards that are exercised in the company discipline procedure, and with respect to redundancies in general.

It is absolutely right and principled, and therefore it is for us ‘professional’, that we are prepared to speak the truth in public about how our members are treated. We will continue to do this, and if Carphone doesn’t want damaging news in the public domain, the answer is very simple: don’t do things, that if they become widely known, would cause the company to be thought of badly.

This is the 21st Century. Corporate ethics matter; it is not acceptable for companies to behave unethically, and not expect it to be a matter of public discussion. Sulinder and Kulwinder are being treated disgracefully, and the more people that know about it the better.


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