Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News And Other Busyness

Stitched Up In Critchley

Denial of union rights to South Wales workers leads to strike and sackings

Squall 16, Summer 1998, pg. 15.

A DISPUTE over the sacking of ten employees and denial of union rights in a South Wales factory entered its 15th month in May.

Critchley Lables reneged on a deal struck with the union to maintain recognition after it bought the factory from British Telecom in 1993.

After two years, in which the union agreed to voluntary redundancies and to keep wages down, ten workers were sacked without consultation.

The sackings were based on appraisals, testing attitude and willingness to retrain, with the ten worst performers getting the chop.

Eight later won cases for unfair dismissal, backed by the Communication Workers' Union, but none were reinstated. One of those dismissed was Chris Ilsey, a 40 year-old man with a mental age of 12.

Two years later, in February 1997, thirty-one remaining workers asked the management to honour their pledge to consult the union over staffing levels.

An overtime ban was imposed when their request was refused. They then voted to strike when management de-recognised the union. Following a week long strike all the workers were sacked.

The union have mounted daily pickets since and are calling for the reinstatement of basic union rights abolished by the last government.

Contact: Sue Hoskins, 54 Beech Grove, Oakdale, Blackwood, Kent, NP2 0NB. 01495 220597; 0410 151176.