Sunday, 27 August 2017

Bridgwater TUC calls for 'Solidarity Hour' with striking Argos workers

The 3 -week strike of 280 Unite members at the Huntworth ARGOS warehouse is still on, after ACAS talks broke up on Thursday without agreement.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council is asking all local trades unionists to show their solidarity over the next few days by:

1. Helping give out the Unite strike leaflet   

2. Helping give out the Bridgwater TUC solidarity leaflet  

3. Turn up for the Unite ARGOS strike picket SOLIDARITY HOUR on Tuesday 29th August from 1.30pm to 2.30pm, please bring your branch banner and/or union flags.

4. Send me a message of support/solidarity to the Bridgwater Unite ARGOS strikers, which I can pass onto Andy Gill and Rob Dibble on the picket line.

If you want to try and make one of these solidarity events contact Dave Chapple, 07707 869 144


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Unite strike leaflet:

ARGOS STRIKE ACTION
 
 
WHY ARE WE ON STRIKE?
 
A number of months ago, Argos announced that it was transferring out its site at Magna Park to a third party contractor Wincanton it then subsequently announced it was shutting the site at Magna and transferring the work to Kettering nearly 30 miles away.
 
This meant a loyal workforce was expected to absorb these changes and travel to Kettering.
 
We approached Argos and ask for guarantees relating to maintaining any transferred site with a direct link to Argos. We also wanted to agree a relocation and Redundancy/Severance package in the event of transfer. We also requested that the Argos site at Barton be allowed to join with other in-house sites for bargaining purposes.
 
We have failed to get sufficient guarantees from the company, hence this strike action.
 
Our claims have been called unreasonable by Argos!
 
  • IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO ASK FOR A RELOCATION PACKAGE IF THE SITE YOU ARE WORKING AT IS SHUT AND WORK MOVED MILES AWAY
 
  • IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO ASK FOR AGREED REDUNDANCY OR SEVERANCE TERMS IF LOYAL WORKERS CANNOT TRANSFER
 
  • IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO MAINTAIN A LINK WITH THE ECONOMIC EMPLOYER ARGOS
 
  • IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO ALLOW A DEMOCRATIC BALLOT TO TAKE PLACE FOR WORKERS TO DECIDE HOW THEIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE NEGOTIATED
 
 
IT IS ARGOS WHO ARE BEING UNREASONABLE, WE ARE LOOKING TO GET GUARANTEES ABOUT OUR FUTURES, ARGOS IS LOOKING TO ATTACK OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN THE FUTURE


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Bridgwater TUC solidarity leaflet:

ARGOS and SAINSBURY Stores at the Clink:
What shoppers need to know!
 
Local trades unionists from Bridgwater Trades Union Council are supporting 280 Unite the Union members, on strike for three weeks at the ARGOS Huntworth Distribution depot. The national strike of ARGOS depots is asking for guarantees on wages and conditions should any depot be closed and re-opened with a new third-party employer. This fact alone makes the dispute a vital one for local workers.
 
The ARGOS Distribution Director Phil Hull, in a letter to all employees, states there are no plans to outsource or move the Bridgwater depot. But in the next paragraph, the words “In the event of a relocation or site move “ are repeated no less than  four times! Bridgwater Trades Union Council believes that Unite members are justified in not trusting the future of the Huntworth site to senior ARGOS Managers.
 
However, how many shoppers at the Clink know that:
1.   ARGOS has now been bought by Sainsbury PLC?
2.   The Bridgwater ARGOS Store may be closed by February 2018?
3.    One plan is to re-locate ARGOS at the back of an expanded Sainsbury?
 
What Bridgwater shoppers may face is the loss of the ARGOS Brand altogether in the next few years, and, with that, the disappearance of a  unique way of shopping.
 
Bridgwater Trades Union Council calls upon Sainsbury PLC to:
1.   Come clean with its future plans for the ARGOS store and brand;
2.   Settle the national industrial dispute by giving Unite the Union the reasonable guarantees it seeks.

Dave Chapple Secretary of Bridgwater TUC said "Bridgwater TUC leafletted outside the ARGOS and sainsbury stores as well as the town centre because Sainsbury now own ARGOS and therefore have the responsibility to force senior ARGOS managers to settle the strike on the terms being proposed by Unite the Union.Bridgwater TUC has called for a "SOLIDARITY HOUR" on Tuesday 30th August, 1.30pm to 2.30pm, at the Unite picket line at Huntworth, when it is hoped activists from all Unite the Union Somerset branches, as well as activists from all other unions and trades union councils, will gather to show solidarity with the longest single continuous strike seen in Somerset for decades.Please bring your union banners and flags!"

 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Friends of Bridgwater Station look at THE CELEBRATION MILE

Friends of Bridgwater Station is holding an important public meeting on Thursday 16th June. Phil Adams, Service Manager in charge of the Sedgemoor District Council’s “Celebration Mile” project, will provide an important update on progress so far, on this important plan to improve and enhance people’s first impression of the  town.

The  Celebration Mile project aims to provide a major face-lift to the rail station, and a route for pedestrians from the station to the Docks, celebrating the history of the town . 

It will give clear information to direct people to the town centre,  improve the station forecourt, ensure the area is safe and easy for all types of transport, and provide a new pedestrian and cycle link to replace the footbridge.

The meeting will be held at the GWRSA Staff Club (Railway Club), Wellington Road, Bridgwater, starting at 7.15pm.

Friends of Bridgwater Station was set up in 2012 to campaign for better rail services and facilities in Bridgwater.

Further details: Glen Burrows 07813 562 869/ glenburrows@btinternet.com

Friday, 12 February 2016

“The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory!” Bridgwater Postman Reinstated.


After a two-year “David and Goliath” battle with the country’s second largest employer, culminating with a 24-hour wildcat walkout on November 11th, 113 CWU members at Bridgwater Royal Mail Delivery Office in Somerset have secured the reinstatement of Andrew Mootoo, a profoundly deaf postman stricken with MS.


Andrew starts back to work on a part-time desk-based computer job, scanning in undelivered packets, on Monday February 15th.

On Thursday, the day after his reinstatement was confirmed, a gate meeting was held, with Andrew and his wife present, to celebrate a remarkable victory for the Communication Workers’ Union/CWU.

After the gate meeting, the British Sign Language/BSL interpreter for Andrew, said she had never experienced anything like it, the speeches had given her goose bumps!

Remarkable act of working class solidarity

Dave Chapple, with Darren Granter one of two Bridgwater CWU Reps still under threat of dismissal for their part in the November illegal walkout, said “Monday will finalise a victory that should be celebrated, not just as part of the TUC HeartUnions week, not just as the latest in an amazing series of strike victories at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, not just as a truly-even for Bridgwater-remarkable act of working-class solidarity, but,perhaps most of all, as a victory for disabled workers everywhere. How many other workplaces would have held a near-unanimous walkout to support someone who hadn’t been at work for nearly two years?”
“The unavoidable fact is that Royal Mail’s preferred option was always compulsory transfer out of Bridgwater, or Ill Health Retirement. The most ignorant and prejudiced Royal Mail managers we met, genuinely felt that the dole was the only long-term option. In any other workplace that could or would not risk a lightening strike as a shock tactic, the dole it would have been. “

Proud of militant history

Dave Chapple
Andrew Mootoo said:”After all this time I didn’t expect, suddenly, to find Royal Mail positive about my return to work. I want to say a big thank you to all Bridgwater CWU members who went on strike for me: that was crucial. I cannot believe I have been waiting for 2 years and 1 month to return to work.I call it “The Longest Road to CWU Victory”: I am so proud of our militant history here at Bridgwater!”

“The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory!” (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingstone: The Wailers, 1970)#

Andrew is available for interviews with the media, disabled, black and ethnic organisations, and other trade union branches."

Dave Chapple


07707 869 144

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Not “The Enemy within”, but the “Heart of the People”

TUC Gen Sec Frances O'Grady
TUC/Trades Councils “Heart Unions” week February 8th -14th 2016

Trades Unionists in Bridgwater and other Somerset towns will; be out on the streets in force next week, Thursday 11th February.They will be publicising all the good things that they do in workplaces every day of the week: improving wages, and health and safety, representing workers in difficulty, and where necessary providing support and advice to those being made redundant by George Osborne’s austerity programme.

None of these things are ever publicised or acknowledged by this anti-trade union government, whose Trade Union Act, never in the Conservative Election Maniifesto, seeks to wipe effective trades unionism from our country for ever. Strikes are at an all-time low in this country, and were and still are, always, only a last resort in the face of employers acting like dictators.

So if you are a local Trade Union Rep, have a problem at work, want to join a trade union, or have any other questions or comments, come along to the Bridgwater Trades Union Council stall at the Cornhill in Bridgwater Town Centre between 11am and 12.30pm, Thursday February 11th.

Dave Chapple, Secretary, Bridgwater Trades Union Council


TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady also said: 

"This government is determined to shift the balance of power in the workplace in favour of employers, and get the Trade Union Bill through Parliament with as little scrutiny as possible. We must not let them get away with it. 

We need to keep the Bill-or the Act if it is finally passed- at the front of politicians and journalists’ minds and to remind people why unions are so important. Trades Unionists will continue to fight this Act when it does become law. 

From the 8th to 14th of February the TUC will run a special week of activities throughout England and Wales to showcase the amazing work unions do. This will provide a way to increase the involvement of you as union members in the campaign, build awareness of the Trade Union Bill and tell positive union stories to the wider public.

The Trade Union Bill has no place in a modern democracy. Only through coming together and showing our united strength will we be able defend our vital right to strike.

Click here to go to the Heart Unions web site.


Dave Chapple           07707 869 144             davechapple@btinternet.com

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Bridgwater Trades Council AGM 5th January 2016


To all local trades unionists, TUC delegates, full-time TU officers/officers of other SW trades councils:

BRIDGWATER & DISTRICT TRADES UNION COUNCIL AGM


Tuesday January 5th, 7pm, in the GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, TA6 5HA

Guest speaker will be Nigel Costley, the South West TUC Secretary.

We hope there will be a good discussion following Nigel's talk.

A buffet supper will be provided, so if you are a visitor, please let me know you are coming!

All Somerset trades unionists are warmly invited, as are officers of other South West trades councils. 

Dave Chapple,
Secretary

07707 869 144

Monday, 23 November 2015

WHAT ARE TRADES COUNCILS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

Dave Chapple
Bridgwater TUC
Trades Union Councils bring unions together to campaign about issues affecting working people and their families, in local workplaces and communities. 

They are affiliated to the Trades Union Congress, at National and Regional level.

 In Somerset we have formed a County Association of  trades union councils and meet regularly with comrades from Yeovil,Taunton,Weston & Bath Trades Union Councils.

 Your union branch can affiliate and elect representatives to Bridgwater Trades Union Council which meets monthly. The affiliation fee is 10p per member and this is our main source of funding.

OUR MAIN AIMS IN THE WORKPLACE

Bob Crowe in Bridgwater
RIGHTS
We want people to know what their rights are at work and how to enforce them -including agency workers.

ORGANISATION
Trade union organised workplaces have better pay and conditions. We want to help build trades union membership and help activists to recruit and organise. If you are temporary or permanent, part time or full time, self-employed or agency, please contact us.

RESPECT

We want dignity and respect for workers in the workplace and the community,regardless of gender,race,colour,sexual orientation,creed or status. We want an end to bullying and harrasment- Bridgwater workers together!

CAMPAIGNS
History shows that you don't achieve your aims by wishing and hoping. We campaign actively with other local groups on issues like jobs, pensions,benefits,public services,transport and the environment.

COME AND JOIN US

Thursday, 27 November 2014

NHS strike photos in Bridgwater

Today's Bridgwater NHS picket saw strikers from Unite and UNISON outside Bridgwater Hospital, joined in solidarity by trades unionists from Unite Community, the CWU, Bridgwater Trades Union Council (and banner), the Labour Party, and the Senior Citizens' Forum.Photos by David Pearce.