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22 June 2016

Campaigning to reinstate sacked Samworth Brothers union activist

Michael Barker Leicester Socialist Party

The recent rise in the national living wage, although still falling well short of a real living wage of 10 an hour, was meant to make it easier for workers to afford to pay their rent and bills.

But greedy bosses like Leicestershire-based food manufacturer Samworth Brothers are using minimal basic rate increases as a green light to erase premium payments for working unsocial hours.

Kumaran Bose, one of the leading BFAWU organisers at Samworth, was sacked earlier this month because he had proven himself extremely effective at recruiting people into the union.

National campaign

In response, a national campaign has been launched to demand Kumaran's immediate reinstatement and an end to the climate of bullying and intimidation that is prevalent within Samworth factories.

On 18 June, the bakers' union and the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) organised a public meeting in Leicester to help build this campaign which will include a boycott of goods produced by Samworth Brothers.

Indeed, just prior to the meeting, a bustling picket was staged outside of a local Tesco store - a corporation that does much business with Kumaran's bullying bosses.

It is noteworthy that earlier this year Tesco also appointed the recent CEO of Samworth Brothers to their board of directors. Samworth bosses refuse to give official recognition to their workers' union of choice.

Speaking at the meeting Kumaran pledged to fight to the very end for union recognition for his fellow workers at Samworth with whom he had worked for 12 years.

The secretary of the Leicester and District Trade Union Council, Tony Church, brought a message of solidarity noting: "Samworth's have a nineteenth century mentality when it comes to labour relations".

He confirmed the trades council is "fully behind" the bakers' union in calling upon the company to reverse Kumaran's disgraceful sacking immediately.

Join the protest to defend Kumaran Bose outside Samworth's Melton Mowbray head office at 12.30pm, Sunday 26 June, Chetwode House, LE13 1GA

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