Labour Research (September 2016)


Successes against big employers

Unions have recently clocked up some notable wins against big employers.

Thousands of employees and agency staff at the Sports Direct warehouse in Shirebrook are expecting back pay worth an estimated £1 million, in compensation for unpaid end-of-shift searches. Unite, which negotiated the deal, now has its sights on full-time contracts and the Living Wage.

The company was heavily criticised by the business, innovation and skills select committee in July, and is under investigation by HMRC over the minimum wage. A union-backed resolution calling for a review of its “human capital management strategy” will be considered at the company’s AGM this month.

The GMB general union is celebrating a landmark legal victory over German-owned low-cost supermarket Lidl, which it hopes will clear the way for a recognition ballot at the company’s Bridgend distribution centre. 

In August, the company unsuccessfully sought a High Court judicial review of the Central Arbitration Committee’s decision in the union’s favour, but was considering an appeal. 

Over 60% of the staff in the local warehouse, which number around 220, have signed a petition in support of union recognition. 

Transport unions URTU and Unite have won a five-year battle with haulier Eddie Stobart over holiday pay. More than 430 drivers shared in an out-of-court pay out of £364,000. From now on they’ll get a higher rate of pay for 28 days’ annual leave.

This information is copyright to the Labour Research Department (LRD) and may not be reproduced without the permission of the LRD.