Monday, 20 June 2011


 Unite members at Wyndeham Impact, Basingstoke are taking strike action in defence of their terms, conditions and their jobs.
They have taken strike action for a number of weeks. The company is a magazine printer and part of the Wyndeham Group of companies.
Two years ago Unite members suffered a wage cut of some £85 per week on the basis that it would be temporary and help the company out, following the collapse of Landsbanki (Icelandic Bank) who were the company’s principle bankers.
The group was purchased by Walstead Investments (a Private Equity company).
They in turn received finance from Leumi Bank. The investment group has since purchased Southernprint, Apple Web-Offset and the St Ives magazine division.
Subsequently, the company reneged on the commitment to make good any of the wage cut and in the local negotiations that followed imposed a continuing wage freeze, cut the sick pay scheme, sought to force members to work over Christmas at short notice, refused to pay for bank holidays, announced
compulsory redundancies four days before the Christmas break and refused to honour the previously agreed redundancy terms.

National level negotiations with the company have failed to produce a satisfactory offer leading to a legal ballot for industrial action which was overwhelming carried.
Unite members have taken lawful strike action every week and are still
Many of Unite members will recognise these attacks on terms and will have suffered some of these themselves over the last few years. This is why it is such an important dispute, as it is clear we have reached a “tipping point” both here and in the industry as a whole.

Unite is therefore calling for maximum solidarity with our Wyndeham Impact members and is urgently requesting donations from branches, workplaces and chapels.
Unite GPM chapels have already been circulated seeking support and are making donations etc.
Unite would also ask for messages of support to be sent to our members in the dispute.
 Cheques should be made payable to “Impact Chapel” and posted to Steve Atwill, Unite Regional Officer at Transport House,15/16 The Avenue, Southampton, Hampshire, SO17 1XF

Messages of solidarity and support should be emailed directly to the Unite FOC Stephen Adams at or text to 07884 430305

Friday, 17 June 2011

Unite Rules Conference 2011

Unite Rules Conference was held in Liverpool this week and contained some good lively debate on issues effecting members.
The two most lively debates were on Rule 6 regards the definition of accountable representatives of workers and Rule 14 that contained numerous amendments on election of Full Time Officials.
All of the latter were defeated and the Executive Statement on Rule 6 was accepted by conference. That statement included setting up an EC appeal panel for those who feel they should be regarded as accountable representatives, that panel will be set up before September 2011 in time for the elections of the constitutional committees which will run for the next two years.
An excellent day by day account has been produced by Ian Allinson EC member for IT & Communications
As an EC member representing North East, Yorkshire and Humber I was delighted to see a significant number of delegates from NEYH contribute to the debates. However I am concerned that the ec guidance was overturned on at least twelve occasions.
The EC is supposed to be in touch with the membership so to have our decisions overturned so many times is worrying.
There are in my opinion a few reasons for this not least a lack of proper preparation in considering our views on their amendments and the fact that branches and committees were not asked to supply a brief description of what they were attempting to achieve with their amendments. This would have supplied us with a background into what is affecting the membership and would have provided us with a better understanding of the issues at hand.
However the lay democracy within Unite has been given a significant boost by the decisions made from the floor and the union is stronger for that.
The conference aside the highlight for me was watching Martin Mayer, chair of United Left, attempting to dance to Cuban music giving the impression that he needed another 50p inserting into the back of his neck to speed him up.
To be fair to Martin he did an excellent job in responding for the ec on the debate on Rule 14 which was a difficult role and he did it in a calm and calculated manner, for which he should be congratulated.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Osanloo Free at Last

The ITF is delighted to announce that imprisoned trade unionist Mansour Osanloo was today freed from jail in Iran almost four years since his arrest and imprisonment, which set off a storm of international protest.
His release is conditional on his ‘good behaviour’ and the payment of a bond.

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has led demands for Mansour Osanloo’s release. ITF general secretary David Cockroft commented: “This is a great day for Mansour and his family – and for his fellow Vahed union members and those of us in the international trade union movement who are honoured to call him a friend. It’s doubly welcome given the deterioration in his health during his time behind bars.

“He is free because trade unionists worldwide demanded justice.”

He continued: “That bail has been set falls short of the full pardon we all wanted, and which the Iranian government promised, but for now we can just take a moment to savour his richly deserved return to his family.”

“But – and sadly even on a day as good as this one there has to be a but – there are other innocents in jail in Iran for the same ‘crime’ of wanting to join a trade union. They include Mansour’s colleagues, Reza Shahabi and Ebrahim Madadi. For all of them, and us, the fight is not over. As much as we welcome the Iranian government’s move and its finally listening to reason, we know we must renew our insistence that those other prisoners are set free and the threat of re-arrest lifted from Mansour, and then commit the ITF, our member unions and friends in the trade union and human rights movements to campaigning on their behalf.”

The Vahed Syndicate responded to the news by saying that they would like to thank everyone who has fought so hard for his release.

Mansour Osanloo was a bus driver and is the president and one of the founding members of the Vahed Syndicate, a free trade union representing Tehran's bus workers. From its beginnings in 2005 the ITF-affiliated union was subjected to heavy repression, including repeated attacks and arrests. Mansour Osanloo was heavily targeted. As well as being beaten up and having his tongue slit he was imprisoned in 2005 and 2006. Then in 2007, just one month after visiting the London head office of the ITF and meeting trade unionists in Brussels, he was arrested. Three months later he was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the state’; in 2010 another year was added to his sentence. In reality his only offence was to help found a genuinely democratic trade union.

For more details, including a film, press releases and history, please see

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Reinstate KFC Union Activists

Three union activists have been dismissed from their employment at KFC in Thailand after they established a union and sought to bargain a collective agreement with KFC management. The Thai ministry of labour approved the registration of the Cuisine and Services Thailand Workers Union after over 200 workers signed and submitted a proposal seeking to negotiate with the company to improve wages and working conditions. Shortly after this, Apantree Charoensak, Krit Suang-aranan and Siwaporn Somjit , who were active as union representatives were terminated without notice or due process. The company then proceeded to harass and intimidate the remaining workers by holding a series of meetings putting pressure on them to withdraw their support for the union. The company, Yum! Thailand, which is a subsidiary of the U.S based Yum! Brands Inc. owns world famous brands such as KFC and Pizza Hut . Management has refused to negotiate with the union and has failed to attend a series of mediation meetings organized by officers the Ministry of Labour. Ma Wei Pin, IUF Asia Pacific regional secretary stated in a letter to Yum Thailand that their actions constitute “ a clear breach of human rights and of internationally acknowledged basic labour right to organize and to bargain collectively (as embodied in ILO Convention 98)

Act Now!
Click Here
To send a message to Yum! Thailand demanding that the three workers be immediately reinstated, and that the company stop intimidating workers and enter into negotiations with the union in good faith.