When the majority of people at a workplace voluntarily choose to join a union and ask for it to be formally recognised for the purpose of collective bargaining, you might expect their bosses to acknowledge the legitimacy of their demands. Not so for the spineless souls currently mis-managing Samworth Brothers, who have just announced that “we are not prepared to agree voluntary recognition for the BFAWU.” (May 23)
The Tory bosses lording it up at Samworth Brothers profess to want to help their workers, on the condition, that is, that they shut up and do as they are told! Most employees at Samworth’s Kettleby Foods factory are not content, however, with such a farcical commitment to their well-being, especially coming in the face of needless cuts to premium pay.
Staff discontent is most visibly seen at the Kettleby site by the deluge of new members who have recently joined the Bakers Union (BFAWU). Indeed, the reason that more than half of their workers are now union members is because Samworth’s much-vaunted “staff consultative structure” is a running joke. Existing ‘consultative’ structures at Samworth sites are rightly seen as nothing more than toothless talking-shops — and undemocratic ones at that.
Samworth’s executives admit that “we recognise there are benefits to union membership” which unfortunately probably explains why they oppose giving recognition to the Bakers Union.
Such opposition also explains why their workers are having to endure a climate of blatant anti-union bullying, such that the management actively discipline workers who speak out for the need for union rights.
Samworth bosses say they “respect every individual’s unfettered right to join a trade union and participate in union activities,” but at the same time they seem to be doing their utmost to make sure that such activities do not take place on their premises. No doubt this is because Samworth managers simultaneously believe that union members should respect their own unfettered right to persecute and bully staff who choose to join the Bakers Union.
Such nonsense will not, however, stop the Bakers Union from fighting tooth and nail for their members human rights as trade unionists. A formal appeal has now been lodged with the government’s Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) and the odds are on the sides of the workers that Samworth’s cack management will soon be forced by law to give formal recognition to the Bakers Union.
That the Samworth bosses will use every trick in the book to block the Bakers Union is obvious, so workers will now have to redouble their efforts to recruit more members to send a clear message to their greedy bosses that from now on they won’t be taking no for an answer.