Thursday, November 30, 2006

JJB Bad Sports

GMB negotiators today met with JJB Sports Chief Executive, Tom Knight to seek the immediate reinstatement of Shop Steward Chris Riley who was summarily dismissed on Tuesday after the union settled a dispute with JJB Sports.

Bad SportsGraham Coxon, GMB Organiser who negotiated the deal in the absence of Sandra Blight, who was injured on the picket line during the strikes, said today "I negotiated the standard no victimisation clause with Mr Knight as part of the final settlement to this dispute. This is the standard contribution to getting back to stable industrial relations after a dispute. This clause called for all grievances from all parties relating to the dispute to be withdrawn. This has been signed by Mr Knight on 15th November. How Mr Whelan [the manager who ordered the sacking], who was not at the talks, can claim that no such agreement exists is unbelievable. This is a clear indication of why industrial relations at JJB Sports are so bad. We clearly have two jockeys on the horse."

Sandra Blight, GMB Organiser who is responsible for GMB members at JJB Sports said, "GMB members expect Tom Knight to re-instate Chris Riley today in line with the no victimisation agreement he signed. GMB members at JJB Sports are very angry at this latest turn of events .This is the second time in these talks that Mr Whelan has scuppered negotiations between Mr Knight and the GMB. GMB members will not stand idly by and allow multi millionaire Mr Whelan to victimise their Shop Steward Chris Riley. The GMB will immediately restart the nationwide campaign, including strike action at Wigan unless JJB Sports and Mr Knight adhere to the agreement they signed with GMB."

The deal agreed by GMB members on November 20th is to be backdated to 1st August 2006. It raises the basic rate for all workers in the depot to £6 per hour from either £5.20 or £5.50. It also provides for all workers to have access to bonus payments of between 15p per hour and 90p per hour depending on how busy the depot is and the pace of work in the depot.

The GMB have also asked that Employment Agencies Standards (EAS) Inspectorate proceed with criminal charges in the magistrates court against 3 local Wigan agencies. The agencies who supplied illegal scab labour to JJB Sports during the dispute were Heads Recruitment, Bond Personnel and Light Year Recruitment Limited.

Throughout the dispute GMB has supplied information to the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate regarding agency labour being used by JJB Sports during strike days and during the rest of the week to deal with the backlog as a result of the strikes. The agencies were made aware by the GMB of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 which makes it a criminal offence for agencies to supply labour to companies during a trade dispute.

I spoke to Sandra Blight who described the sacking as a "vindictive and vile act" that was not just "an attack on the GMB, and the GMB reps but an attack on trade unions as a whole."

There is a meeting tommorrow with the GMB General Secretary. Hopefully the outcome of this will give those of us who wish to express our support something concrete to do to react to this attack - in the mean time you can email messages of support to Chris Riley at this address.

Update: Tom Knight, Chief Exec of JJB Sports has refused to implement the agreement he himself signed two weeks ago and reinstate Chris Riley. Sandra Blight said "Unless people honour the signed agreement made in good faith, there is no basis for stable industrial relations.Today we have given notice of a new strike ballot at JJB Sport. The Wigan depot will stop again unless Chris Reilly is re-instated.

"GMB North West will be making an appeal to the entire Labour movement for practical and financial support for those low paid workers who are facing the prospect of a second loss of wages to defend their rights. We will be asking for financial support for the strike fund and for demonstrations at JJB Sports shops and outside football grounds, where Wigan FC plays."


Anonymous said...

There's now a blogger site for the dispute:

Jim Jay said...

Thanks for that!

Also check out this piece I wrote today on the growing trend of victimisation of union militants.

Louisefeminista said...

Yeah Jim, good piece you wrote for SUN. I am absolutely gobsmacked that Unison are disciplining members who walked out of TUC conference when warmonger Blair was speaking. I really thought it was a joke when I first heard it. But no, Unison really are disciplining them. Bloody appalling. And now the sacking of the JJB steward.....indeed there does seem a trend developing of victimisation..

Jim Jay said...

Thanks L. and can I say how lovely you are looking today...

Unison have a bit of a habit of disciplining militants they went through a spate of it a few years back too - the key thing is to not let them get away with it and force them to back off.

If they can't actually help trade unionists the least they can do is keep out of the way!

Louisefeminista said...

"Thanks L. and can I say how lovely you are looking today..."

Hey Jim, ahhh thanks, am chuffed as yesterday I looked a right mess in my jogging bottoms and t-shirt with my leg raised resting on the chair to help stop swelling around knee.

Unison did indeed discipline some leftie activists a couple of years ago. Bloody disgraceful and unfortunately one of the old full-timers in Unison (who happened to my regional officer) was a witch hunter and funnily enough, he didn't particularly like me.... Can't think why!!!

Jim Jay said...

Well I hope the knee feels better and I'm sure you looked lovely no matter how baggy your attire.


The individuals behind these attacks are incredible - incvluding peope who now work for the union who were not so long ago working for the other side

Louisefeminista said...

Baggy? I said nowt about my attire being baggy... Cheeky!

Well, I think the full-timer I knew was specially drafted in to keep an eye on the left....Scary but true