Union questions

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Kalashnikov_Blues
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Joined: 19-09-03
Apr 20 2004 14:07
Union questions

Ok, I know fuck all about unions and how they operate. But the place I work at is in dire need of a stronger union presence.

I have a good relationshiip with my supervisor, and I know he would back any union actions, or most.

Many of the people on my shift look to be backin in thier union dues and affiliations. We have no Rep on my shift but inactive ones on another 2 shifts.

I am currently not in the union, mainly cuz no one has ever asked me and I have been waiting outta curiousity to see when they would get around to it, been obver 6 months now. And they know I am interested and still nothing.

Due to the way things are headed and the way things currently are, I am wondering if its worth or even possiblt to take up a strong pro union positon.

The company is bringing in computers to track our progress through out the day i.e log in log out for various shit., we work 12 hour shifts with only one 1/2 hour paid break total. With no more then 2 people are allowed to take break during the same time period.

We are forced to work bank holidays without extra pay or any compensation, regardless.

There other things that are only slightly offensive, but all put together are seriously offensive.

Anyway, like I said I know fuck all about labour laws and union shit and wouldn't imagine steppin up to the plate without some sort of knowledge.... help??? confused

I am curious as to how much they can get away with an how much we are letting them get away with.

I have managed to get a fair few folks to agree with my complaints, so I know Im not alone.

And there are 2 other shifts of 13 on my side and another 4 shifts on the other. total of 115 shop floor employees that could potentially be mobilized... in theory... confused

ack!

Steve
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Apr 20 2004 14:25

You say there is a union presence. Which union is it?

You could try to get your fellow workers together regardless of the 'official' union. Call a meeting and get all the complaints agreed on and look at your options. Have you seen the Stuff Your Boss leaflet? You can get these for free from SolFed. Also if you contect SF we have members with loads of workplace experience who could give you advice on what to do. In the end though it will be down to you and your workmates to decide.

It sounds as if you could get to the first base. The tricky bit is getting people to agree to take some action!

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888
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Apr 20 2004 16:00

Another labour law-type question:

I was working for 3 weeks in a temp job with no contract around Easter. I wasn't paid for the bank holiday and good friday, although I thought the EU working time directive meant I should be even though I am only a temporary worker. Am I right? What should I do?

Steve
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Apr 20 2004 16:20

There is no statutory right for UK employees to take public holidays, or to be paid for taking them.(one in five UK employees are not paid for taking public holidays as time off). angry Bank Holidays were not included in the amendments to the EU directive. Any right to time off or extra pay on bank holidays depends on the terms of an employee's contract of employment but as you didn't have one (though you should have) you can't really challenge it.

AlexA
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Apr 20 2004 16:41

But according to the Stuff Your Boss leaflet you're immediately entitled to 2 days' paid leave no? So you could claim the bank holiday pay as leave?

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888
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Apr 20 2004 16:47

Damn. Thanks for the info.

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Ed
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Apr 20 2004 18:44

Go to www.enrager.net/organise and scroll down to the bit about organising at work. Might be useful for a few pointers.....

redyred
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Apr 20 2004 19:16

Join the IWW. Try and get the more pro-Union types at work to look at it too.

brizzul
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Joined: 7-10-03
Apr 21 2004 23:29
Kalashnikov_Blues wrote:

The company is bringing in computers to track our progress through out the day i.e log in log out for various shit., we work 12 hour shifts with only one 1/2 hour paid break total. With no more then 2 people are allowed to take break during the same time period.

We are forced to work bank holidays without extra pay or any compensation, regardless.

There other things that are only slightly offensive, but all put together are seriously offensive.

It's those sorts of computers that caused the baggage handlers dispute. That wild cat that took place made both the unions and management back down. Go for it! Just tell all your mates it'll time how long you spend in the bogs and they'll be outraged.

If you try and ressurect the union get your mates to nominate and elect you to union health and safety rep (if you're up for it), it'll give you a set of minor but important rights so you can give management the odd bollocking and get the occasional good nights sleep at the same time.

brizzul
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Apr 21 2004 23:35
alexa wrote:
But according to the Stuff Your Boss leaflet you're immediately entitled to 2 days' paid leave no? So you could claim the bank holiday pay as leave?

Not as far as I remember it. You're entitled to at least 20 days paid holiday per year (even temps and casuals and they can't give you extra pay instead either) but the boss can make you take it whenever he likes unless your contract says otherwise or usual "custom and practice" is enforced.

belboid
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Joined: 19-04-04
Apr 22 2004 00:36

your boss can 'only' demand you take half your annual leave entitlement upon set dates, and bank holidays are extra to that, however the bosses are under no obligation to reimburse you if you agree to work a BH - you should get time off in lieu later, but if you are a temp that doesnt mean a thing. joining the IWW will actually do sweet FA as they have absolutely no influence over any industrial concern, tho, in the very long run building up such a union is obviously worthwhile

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Apr 25 2004 10:35

So much to reply to... feeling... overwhelmed wink

Right, I did the IWW thing several years ago. I love the IWW and wish they could regain some of what they once were. But I really don't see them as a real force today (cant imagine anyone does) and I can't see how using the IWW would help at the moment.

I am not lookin to revolutionize my fellow employees. Maybe one day (who am I kidding? I wanna leave ASAP...) but one thing at a time.

I had the Stuff Your Boss leaflet, but gave it to someone... duh!

I forget the details about the breaks, was it 30 minutes for every 6 hours worked? but then I assume thats unpaid.

They actually just had a union meeting (its the GPMU) this week, first in over 6 months!

From what I gather, they talked about the 20 holidays, as we only get 13 at the moment. and also a 2.3% pay rise.

As for the computers, the company has wisely (to thier ends) chosen NOT to have us log on and off for a cup of tea and loo breaks.

However annoyingly, you have to actually log off for dinner by clicking a button that sez "BAD" in big red letters, to log on again its "GOOD" in green... Goin home is "BAD" as well... wankers angry

I had given my info to someone from SF at the Anarchist Bookfair, but never heard back.

redyred
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Apr 25 2004 15:42
Kalashnikov_Blues wrote:

I forget the details about the breaks, was it 30 minutes for every 6 hours worked? but then I assume thats unpaid.

You're entitled to 15 min paid break per 4 hours. Of all the jobs I've worked, I find this is one of the most common laws where employers find and exploit loopholes.

The Boy
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Apr 25 2004 21:08
redyred wrote:
Kalashnikov_Blues wrote:

I forget the details about the breaks, was it 30 minutes for every 6 hours worked? but then I assume thats unpaid.

You're entitled to 15 min paid break per 4 hours. Of all the jobs I've worked, I find this is one of the most common laws where employers find and exploit loopholes.

They don't even need loopholes. I currently work 5 shifts a week, all of them are three and three quarter hours long. Added to this, management recently decided that any overtime shifts in the store will be the same length. No need to pay staff to sit around that way.

brizzul
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Apr 27 2004 16:21

Either the law has changed a lot in the last couple of years or one or more of us are wrong.

Besides it doesn't matter what the law says you're not going to get shit without flexing your collective muscles.

Slagging off the IWW because it is not doing very well (who is in UK?) shouldn't make us think that grass roots organisation doesn't take place anymore. Look to Europe - all the CNTs, USI, CGT-E, SUD, unicobas, SAC and so on, all self managed regardless of any political differences we have with them. Some of these broke away from bureacrat dominated trade unions because of the constant betrayals. So saying wouldn't a ressurected IWW be great, we just have to look closer to home than the US.

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Apr 27 2004 19:58

Actually I think in my case we are both wrong

http://www.gpmu.org.uk/hs/workrests.html

Quote:

What about rests & breaks?

Everyone is entitled to a minimum 11 hours break in any 24-hour period

What about the weekly rest entitlement?

In every seven-day period, you will be entitled to 24 hours' uninterrupted rest. The provisions are a bit flexible, and, providing there is agreement between the GPMU and your employer, it is possible to lump your two weekly rest entitlements together and have them over a 14-day period. That means that, instead of taking two 24-hour rest periods over two weeks, you can, if you wish, have one rest period of 48 hours during the course of a two-week period. The 24-hour break must be in addition to your 11-hour daily rest period.

Do we still get tea breaks?

Yes: where you work more than six hours you're entitled to at least a 20-minute break.

Can my boss make us take that break at the end of our shift?

No: the regulations say the 20 minutes have got to be taken during working time, and not at the beginning or end of a shift.

Can workers on monotonous jobs get better protection?

Employers must do everything they reasonably can to adapt work to suit the worker, especially where their pattern of work is monotonous or at a pre-determined rate which raises the chance of an accident.

Annoyingly it appears as though... I'm lucky to get 30 minutes during my 12 hours... unless I am reading it wrong...

brizzul
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Apr 28 2004 00:00
Kalashnikov_Blues wrote:

Annoyingly it appears as though... I'm lucky to get 30 minutes during my 12 hours... unless I am reading it wrong...

By that reckoning you should get 40 minutes at least but I just can't remember the exact rules. I've got a mate who's an FOC and I'm very surprised conditions are that bad in a recognised GPMU workshop. I'm going to pass on this thread to him and see what he says, but I knows what he's going to say about the 13 days holiday straight away!.

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Apr 28 2004 03:16

There was a company switch over about 7 years ago where the Union sold out all sorts of options cuz they were scared they were gonna lose thier jobs, hence the strangeness.

I still think that statement is vague, it could be taken to mean, well what it sez, "if you work more then 6 hours, you get a 20 minute break" as opposed to what I want to read which is "for every 6 hours you get a 20 minute break"

Interested in what your friend has to say.

thans alot.

brizzul
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Apr 28 2004 15:27

I told my mate about your conditions and he was a bit shocked. He wants to know:

Are you covered by the BPIF agreement?

He also wants to know where you work but to be frank you don't know us from Adam and the net is very public. You could private message me (pm button below) but even that isn't 100% secure. Up to you really.

The 13 days holiday is breaking the law (he says) unless those missing days are rota'd in (you find extra days off between shift patterns every now and then or you shut down for christmas, etc).

The BPIF is an employers group (boo hiss! like a union for bosses) for the print industry that negotiates collectively with the GPMU. Those basic guarantees get you more than the law gives you so if you are supposed to be covered by the BPIF agreement you're being doubly shafted.

He also thinks if you're in a workshop with only say 5 members it's likely the union just hasn't bothered. So if you've got more then we can scratch that possibility.

This guy is very clued up and can give you info you can print off and hit your Branch Secretary with.

brizzul
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Apr 28 2004 15:29

100 posts. Do I get a banana?

AlexA
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Joined: 16-09-03
Apr 28 2004 16:32

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Joined: 19-09-03
Apr 28 2004 22:23

Thats a very suggestive banana... eek

Thanks for the help!

rkn, would it make sense to have maybe a Union/work problem related topic thingy?

brizzul
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Apr 28 2004 23:56
alexa wrote:

Ha

Ha

Ha

How the fuck did you get over 500 posts and you only started a month before me? I thought I was noisy!

AlexA
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Apr 29 2004 00:50

ah well those of us who are admins or who work on enrager have hidden boards where we talk about site updates and the like, hence we have hundreds of posts, many of which are just one or two words - like "updated index.php".

brizzul
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Apr 29 2004 01:03
alexa wrote:
ah well those of us who are admins or who work on enrager have hidden boards where we talk about site updates and the like, hence we have hundreds of posts, many of which are just one or two words - like "updated index.php".

Aaah.... is that like the hidden dictatorship that Bakunin banged on about guiding the masses invisibly?

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pingtiao
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Apr 29 2004 09:29

Ey! Shut it you!

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