Jitesh Randeria and the Roots of the SPS Strike

Unite members at SPS Technologies have many reasons to be on strike, not just because their penny-pinching “fire and rehire” boss, Jitesh Randeria, is attempting to roll back their wages and their terms and conditions.

Throughout the pandemic their Leicester-based factory has remained open, with workers risking their safety daily while their boss kept safe idling the days away in his office working out how to cut costs by sacking his workers. With no reasonable explanation Mr. Randeria refused to use the government’s furlough scheme, and instead (while Leicester was still in lockdown) he decided to make nearly half his workforce redundant! Little wonder his workforce have no respect for him.

Precisely because most of the shop-floor workers are unionised, they have been able to defend the type of terms and conditions that every union should strive for, which includes a generous sick pay scheme – which Mr. Randeria is presently trying to tear up. But disgustingly Mr. Randeria refused his workers access to their normal sick pay entitlements if they were forced to self-isolate to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. In these cases, workers were made to accept statutory sick pay of just £95 a week, even though they should have been entitled to their full pay!

You might also imagine that given that Mr. Randeria decided to keep his factory open throughout the pandemic that he might have had solid safety measures in place to protect the lives of his workers. But this was not the case, and so it was only a matter of time before the deadly coronavirus took a hold in his factory. Yet even when an outbreak occurred with six workers testing positive at the same time Mr. Randeria played Russian roulette with everyone’s lives by keeping the factory open. This decision posed a threat not only to his workers but also to the people of Leicester.

The ultimate tragedy of Mr. Randeria’s ongoing abuses – to which he will soon surely be held to account — is that as a direct result of the major factory outbreak one of the six workers recently lost his life to covid. This is what happens when money trumps human life. And most astonishingly, to this day Mr. Randeria’s preference for prioritising of profits before human safety has meant he has even denied his workforce access to regular testing via lateral flow tests.

Instead of conducting regular on-site testing for covid Mr. Randeria prefers to test his employees’ patience, and in his companies latest hairbrained scheme to “promote safety” Mr. Randeria is planning on making it mandatory that all workers reverse into car-parking spaces when they turn-up at work. Apparently, workers might be tired at the end of a shift and might crash their cars if they don’t follow the new parking rule, and this is despite the fact that there is no evidence of accidents ever happening in the car park.

Needless to say, the car-parking fiasco is emblematic of Mr. Randeria’s unprofessional management style, or rather his own inability to manage. And if Mr. Randeria was really concerned with workers safety there are many things he might consider doing, like for example not attempting to reduce break entitlements for his staff during the working day!

In the face of all this idiocy the all-out strike continues to remain strong. Workers are determined that they will stay out on strike together.

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