December 19, 2006 08:31 ET

Sackings spark strikes at two packaging plants

BRADFORD AND NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 19, 2006) - Strike action is due to start at packaging company Chesapeake's Bradford and Newcastle sites after ten Amicus members, including the senior union representative, were sacked.

The union members were dismissed by the company at its' Field Packaging site in Bradford for refusing to sign individual contracts in what the union says is a blatant attempt by the company to undermine collective employee agreements and attack workers terms of pay and conditions.

Amicus say that the company has bypassed the staff collective bargaining unit since the membership overwhelmingly rejected the proposals to move to individual staff contracts in a ballot. Since then the majority of members have been forced to accept the changes or face losing their jobs.

The under ten members who refused to sign by a deadline set by the company have subsequently been sacked.

Vernon Robson, Amicus National Officer, said:
"Amicus is appalled by the bullying and intimidation that this company is prepared to apply to its own staff in an attempt to undermine their collectively negotiated terms and conditions. This is not an acceptable way for any employer to behave and they have brought this industrial dispute upon themselves."

Mark Fieldhouse, Amicus Regional Officer, said:
"This is not just an attack on the union but on these workers fundamental human right to collectively agree their terms of employment. When 75% of the Amicus membership rejected the company's proposal to introduce individual contracts they have imposed them arbitrarily and moved to sack those who have fought bravely to protect their conditions of employment.

"Industrial action consisting of a continuous overtime ban and a series of one-hour stoppages at both the Bradford and Newcastle sites are now scheduled for every Wednesday until the company reinstates our members. This action has overwhelming support at both sites."

Local MPs have also condemned the company for its' actions their voice to the dispute, including the three Bradford MPs, Gerry Sutcliffe, Terry Rooney and Marsha Singh.

Contact Information

  • Amicus National Officer
    Vernon Robson
    07860 538534
    Amicus Regional Officer
    Mark Fieldhouse
    07817 103893
    Amicus Press Office
    Ashraf Choudhury
    020 7420 8914
    07980 224761