Friday 17 August 2007

Nippon Express Dispute: Gate Gourmet All Over Again?

Two years on from the summer when the Gate Gourmet dispute broke out in my constituency a similar industrial dispute has been provoked at Nippon Express.

Just like Gate Gourmet Nippon Express is seeking to impose effectively a new contract of employment on a group of its workers.

The company is demanding that the workers work 44 days a year extra a year, overtime rates on Sunday are cut by 25%, shift pay is cut by £326 on day shifts and £512 night shifts, and the introduction of new working rosters resulting in wage cuts with some losing £1265 in shift pay.

On top of this the company is proposing an annual less than inflation wage settlement of 1.7%.

Another similarity with Gate Gourmet is that the union involved is the TGWU.

More interestingly and I suppose less of a coincidence is that the management involved in the chain of events leading to this dispute have come from Gate Gourmet!

The TGWU are urging the company to join it in an approach to ACAS to seek arbitration. I have written to the Managing Director of Nippon Express calling upon the company to agree to arbitration.

Neither the Labour and Trade Union movement nor the Government will want to see another Gate Gourmet but unless pressure is brought to bear on the company now to seek a negotiated settlement, that is exactly what is in prospect.