Regional Secretary’s Welcome July saw Unite in our region taking part in the Great Yorkshire Show. I’m incredibly proud of the work that Unite put in to making our exhibition a great success, and the link between us and the show ground grows each year. July also saw us at the Durham Miners’ Gala, but the excitement was short lived when we learnt of the death of Davey Hopper. Personally, I will remember Davey as a man of integrity, passion and determination, and Unite the union will continue to ensure his legacy lives on. Karen Reay Regional Secretary WORKING TOGETHER IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY Dave Monaghan, regional officer, and Mark Hodson, shop steward from Icelandic Seachill, recently visited Brussels to attend a meeting of the Belgium union shop stewards from the ACV Union to share best practice. Also at the meeting were colleagues from UILA, an Italian union, NNN, a Norwegian union, the IUF (International Union of Food workers) and EFFAT (European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions). Although it became clear that the challenges shop stewards face are similar, the conditions in Belgium were generally more favourable and relationships with the employers appeared to be better than in the UK. Belgian colleagues were surprised to learn of the restrictions in place in the UK, in particular regarding organising and the process for conducting ballots on industrial action. ACV also organised a demonstration outside the Seafood Expo Global exhibition. The demonstration was to highlight the poor treatment of workers at Citra Mina in the Philippines, and Mark and Dave flew the Unite flag to show our support.
PAY TALKS CONCLUDE AT 3M In the face of a difficult world market, pay negotiations have been successfully concluded with membership agreeing an increase of 1.5% and the provision of three additional Christmas holidays for 2016. Tim Bush, regional coordinating officer, said “this is a good result for our members at 3M, in particular due to the difficult trading conditions on the world market”. ACTION CONTINUES AT RADFORD HMY GROUP A dispute at Radford HMY Group Ltd continues to roll on in the form of an overtime ban and work to rule which started on 11 July 2016. In addition to this, Unite members took part in a 24 hour strike on 14 July 2016 and the employer has been notified of a three day strike to take place on 3, 4 and 5 August 2016. Mark Sanderson, regional officer, said “there is a new offer from the company for our members to consider and it will be put to them on 29 July 2016. However, the offer is very poor and is clawed back at the end of the year by dropping pay back to current levels. This would mean that the 2017 negotiations start from no better position than the 2016 ones. I am fully expecting members to reject the offer and for action to continue”. PAY TALKS UNRAVEL AT WESTEX CARPETS Unite members at Westex Carpets look likely to be heading into a dispute over pay. Following the rejection of the company’s latest pay offer, Unite members made their voices known through a consultative ballot. Over 80% of members indicated that they would be willing to take strike action. At the final meeting with the company, Unite offered that, rather than escalate straight into an industrial action ballot, we seek to use ACAS. Unfortunately, the company chose not to accept this offer. Sharon Ramsden, Unite regional officer, said “Unite are now beginning the process of going to a formal ballot for industrial action at Westex. Unite believes this will be the first time members at Westex Carpets have taken industrial action should we have a positive outcome to the ballot”.