Monday, November 19, 2007

Strike action looms at JJB - threatened with Polish workers !

NWN: It didn't take long for this to happen did it ?

Christmas strike action may hit one of Wigan's biggest companies - more than 200 hourly-paid staff at JJB Sports at Martland Park have overwhelmingly rejected a new annual pay offer.
They are also fuming about an alleged threat from management that many of them could be replaced by Polish workers if they do not accept the deal. Now, staff have one final meeting arranged with new chief executive Chris Ronnie which could offer the Challenge Way-based firm a lifeline.
If that fails, the next stage will be a ballot for industrial action backing a walkout.And that could lead to a repeat of the New Year picket lines which were thrown around the complex after the failure of last year's pay negotiations.
Members of the general workers union GMB voted by more than 75% to throw out JJB's wage deal.They claim the latest and "final" 3.5% offer, which would boost the Monday to Friday pay rate to £6.21 per hour, would still leave workers at one of Wigan's most prestigious companies the worst paid warehouse staff in the borough.
Workers are also fuming that the re-branded company wants to introduce new 12-hour shifts but without traditional shift allowances, and are offering only 93p per hour extra for weekend working.Works GMB acting convener Emma Moseley said: "JJB has a high profile, but this isn't shown in the wages."Even with this 3.5% the members would still be among the worst paid in warehousing in Wigan and their angry feelings about this were clearly shown in the way they voted not to accept it."People are also very concerned about the offer of an extra 93p per hour for giving up your weekends, bringing the Saturday and Sunday rate to just over £7.00 per hour, which is just not acceptable."We have known that the new management wanted to change things for some time but we didn't think they would start to try and introduce 12-hour shifts without paying people proper shift allowances."We are not scared of change as long as things are done fairly."And we don't think they should always be wanting to do everything on the cheap at the expense of their hard-working employees.
"At the end of the day we are not expecting to be the best paid warehouse workers in Wigan but we don't want to continue to be the worst paid either."Ms Moseley said they had contacted new chief executive Chris Ronnie asking for "one last meeting" to find out if there are any furt
her proposals from JJB which could be put to the workforce to head off industrial action.
If there is nothing forthcoming, the next step, she said, would be a postal ballot for approval for a strike.She said: "The members are also angry after management told a shop steward and our full time official at a meeting that if they didn't accept the pay offer they would be replaced by Polish workers because there are now so many living in Wigan who would work for this money.
"They don't like being threatened in this way and they don't think that is the way for the company to treat them."The strike threat comes as the regime-change at JJB Sports ushers in a re-brand.Since arriving at Martland Park in the summer, Mr Ronnie has implemented a plan to "re-energise the company"which has been buffeted by tough trading and recently suffered a profits slump.The company declined to comment.


Anonymous said...

Surely that would then be grounds for a class-action lawsuit for racial discrimination?

Anonymous said...

Yes, that would be conceivable grounds to launch a case.

This would be where Solidarity - the British Workers' Union would have been strongest in fighting.

But internationalist and liberal Patrick Harrington, erstwhile 'leader' of the stolen Solidarity Union is too much carving out a political career for himself and trying to gain brownie points from promoting his new creed of the "New McCarthyism".

Just how this is meant to protect and promote the interests of the average British worker is beyond me. An over-emphasis on this new creed of the "New McCarthyism" is merely political grandstanding and fails the British worker. It may help a handful of BNP members but the whole point of Solidarity was to become a mass nationalist trade union, protecting the masses of the British worker.

That's until those pair of crooks, Harrington and Griffin, stole the union and turned it into a BNP front, becoming a centralised Griffin organisation and not an independent union.

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