More than 6 million people are members of a union in Britain, and most of these individuals (just over 5.8 million) are part of a trade union that is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Employers, like Samworth Brothers, are quick to recognise the benefits that their workers may gain from joining a union, and do their utmost to persuade their employees not to join a union. One way in which they do this is by intimidating workers and spreading lies about the clear benefits that can be gained by organising collectively.
Nevertheless millions of people chose to join unions and demand the right to negotiate collectively (not just individually) at work, because as the TUC simply put it: “Unions help workers get together, stop people being treated unfairly and get a better deal from their employers.”
On June 16, sacked Samworth Brothers worker, Kumaran Bose, spoke at Leicester City Town Hall at the monthly meeting of the Leicester and District Trades Union Council, which is the local body of the Trades Union Congress. This local Trades Council group plays an important role in bringing together trade union representatives from across the region so that they can share experiences and coordinate their future work.
At the meeting, the delegates of the Trades Council unanimously voted to give their full support to Kumaran Bose in his efforts to reverse his unfair dismissal from Samworth Brothers. To this affect, the following day the Trades Council released a press release to the local media which explained:
The local body of the Trades Union Congress, the Leicester and District Trades Union Council, today pledged its full support to the sacked Samworth Brothers worker, Kumaran Bose.
Mr Bose’s union, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), claim that he has been victimised for standing up to the Melton Mowbray-based company over changes in employee’s contracts that could see substantial reductions in earnings to pay for the introduction of the government’s planned Living Wage. They also say that Mr Bose was singled out for trying to achieve BFAWU recognition in Samworth plants. Trades Union Council secretary, Tony Church, said:
“We listened very carefully to Kumaran tell us his story and we all agreed that Samworth’s have a 19th century mentality when it comes to labour relations. The super- rich bosses of this company are squeezing their workers dry in order to ensure that the introduction of the Living Wage does not hit their profits and, more importantly, their dividends.
“Kumaran has been singled-out for having the courage to say no to this exploitation and for trying to organise his fellow-workers. We are fully behind him and BFAWU and call upon the company to reverse his disgraceful sacking immediately. They truly are latter-day Scrooges.”
The 2016 Sunday Times rich list shows the company owners as being worth £455 million.