Defend trade union rights


Defend trade union rights

MANAGERS HAVE effectively derecognised Mark Cliffe, TGWU senior
steward at Morrisons’ Gadbrooke Park distribution centre, Cheshire. This
is an attack on the union and the right of free trade unionism.

Mark and the other stewards at Gadbrooke Park have a strong record of
fighting and winning for the members – including significant pay rises
and the ending of a no-strike agreement. Meanwhile the Morrisons’ board
has through its own incompetence thrown the company into crisis – which
they want the workforce to pay for.

Morrisons aim to undermine the union. While admitting that there is
"no case to answer" on the bogus charges Mark faces, managers
nonetheless gave Mark a written warning. This prevents Mark standing for
re-election as senior steward in the union elections this month. The
same trick has been pulled on another rep at the same site, currently
also fighting his case.

Mark says: "Workers choosing who they want as their stewards is a
union matter and the company should stay out of it. We don’t pick their
team and they shouldn’t pick ours. Morrisons can’t afford a dispute –
share prices are rock-bottom, and having a bad Christmas wouldn’t be
good for the company!"

The company has recently increased staff canteen prices by 28%. The
staff canteen cash cards can only be credited by £1 or £5 and don’t give
change. Staff buying a £1.01 meal are paying £5, so they’re going

  • Rush protests to the site controller: Tony Riddlesworth, William
    Morrisons, Gadbrooke 2 Distribution Centre, Kings Street, Rudheath,
    Northwich, CW9 7WA.
  • Send copies of protests and your messages of support to the workers
    c/o 25A Delmont Road, Northwich, CW9 7HS, and to the TGWU c/o Dave
    McCall, Transport House, Merchants Quay, Salford Quays, Salford, M5 2SG.

Sefton’s Lib-Lab council sacks UNISON activists

AROUND 50 people lobbied the second stage of the disciplinary hearing
for Sefton UNISON activists Nigel Flanagan and Paul Summers on 1
November. Many of the people on the lobby were "key group" strikers,
called out on strike on behalf of the branch as a whole.

They heard speakers that included UNISON NEC and Socialist Party
member Roger Bannister. He referred to the occasions when he had faced
dismissal as a result of union activities, but had held onto his job as
a result of the determination of his members in the neighbouring
Knowsley Branch.

The two branch officers faced trumped-up charges relating to a
peaceful protest against the opening of a shop to promote the
privatisation of Sefton’s council housing by a transfer of all housing

A hung council, with no overall political control, Sefton is
currently run on the basis of a deal between Labour and the Liberal
Democrats, under which a right-wing political agenda is pursued, and key
council positions are shared out amongst the two parties.

Tenants voted against the housing transfer, and this has undoubtedly
infuriated councillors. The council leader is Labour’s Dave Martin, who
has faced opposition at the polls from the Socialist Party’s Peter

This attack on the trade union further calls into question the
relationship between UNISON and the Labour Party. UNISON members in
Sefton are bound to wonder why UNISON is giving £ millions to a party
that privatises public assets and victimises trade unionists. The
protest in question is recorded on closed circuit television, which
clearly indicates that no misconduct took place, as do the notebook
entries of the two police officers on duty at the time.

No decision was made on 1 November, but the sackings were announced
three days later. UNISON nationally has pledged £75,000 to relieve
hardship of strikers in Sefton, and the branch has called a members’
meeting on 8 November to consider the next stage of the campaign.