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21st January 2021, 14:42

Industrial relations between Unite and Saccone and Speed 'soured'

Unite the Union has highlighted what it claims are rising tensions with Saccone & Speed, saying redundancies are the latest in a series of industrial relations issues arising with the employer since the summer. However, the company rejects the accusations, saying it's always taken its responsibilities towards its employees seriously and respectfully and has a reputation for fair dealing. It questions why Unite remained silent on the substantial redundancies in the legal and financial services sector and should have chosen to act in this manner when the Company is contemplating 3 to 4 redundancies.

Unite the Union says members successfully resisted attempts by the employer to impose temporary cuts in pay in the summer months and are now faced with redundancies and disciplinaries.

For its part Saccone and Speed says the Company does not carry out disciplinaries unless there is a reason to do so arising from an employee acting in an improper manner or breaching their employment terms, two specific instances are where employees have been disrespectful towards customers or continuously failed to attend work without a reasonable reason. Unite, it says, has always been present in these instances to represent its members.

It adds that like every other business, it is having to cope with the extraordinary difficulties created by the pandemic and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, with supplies to hotels, bars and restaurants having dried up, as have sales to retail shops serving the tourist trade which is now non-existent.

It says that at this difficult time, it had expected Unite to cooperate in achieving the best result possible for all parties.

Nevertheless, Unite's Regional Officer , Sam Hennessy says the union is appalled at the stance to industrial and employee relations the Company has taken since the issue in summer was successfully resolved. He adds frontline private sector workers such as those at Saccone & Speed have worked throughout the pandemic and have been pivotal in keeping bars, restaurants and shops stocked, operating and able to maintain economic activity. At this time, he adds, these jobs need to be supported and protected, not attacked.

The Union is calling for an immediate cultural change at the company to a more supportive approach that properly recognises the staff's contribution. It says it's open to constructive dialogue with Saccone & Speed on these issues, but will consider further action in support of its members.

But, Saccone and Speed calls for the Union to withdraw what it says are the 'unsubstantiated' accusations and apologise to its staff.

It adds it's in the process of assessing its activities in full consultation with employees. Furthermore, it says, a ballot was taken among the employees on whether the Company could offer the 3% pay increase that Unite was demanding with only 18% of the workforce supporting Unite’s position. It adds Unite has also failed to respect the wishes of employees who are not Unite members and who represent 50% of the workforce.

Saccone and Speed calls upon Unite the Union to desist from its negative approach and follow the established ACAS guidelines which the Company itself has been following.