Letter from Musgrave NI Managing Director informs store management they are working with Wincanton in putting in place ‘plans to manage any disruption’
Unite warns that it will pursue any potential breach with Employment Agency Inspectorate
March 22nd: Maurice Cunningham, Unite officer for staff in Wincanton has warned both Wincanton and Musgrave that any use of agency workers to undermine strike action will be met with legal action:
“Unite has in our possession a letter issued by Michael McCormick, MD of Musgrave NI to stores. While tells managers ‘we do not anticipate disruption of supply to your store’ he sees fit to assure them that Musgrave’s third-party logistics supplier Wincanton is ‘putting in place plans to manage any disruption’ and says ‘we are working with Wincanton to help them manage this issue’.
“Workers are concerned that this assurance may reflect a willingness by Wincanton to use agency strike breakers in an attempt to undermine our members’ lawful industrial action. The use of temporary workers to perform the duties of a worker engaged in industrial action or a worker covering the duties of a worker engaged in industrial action is a breach of Regulation 7, Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations (NI) 2005. A breach of this Regulation constitutes a criminal offence under Article 6(3) of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order (NI) 1981 and potentially carries a significant financial penalty.
“We are putting Wincanton, Musgrave and any agency employer on-notice that Unite will bring forward a requisite complaint to the Employment Agency Inspectorate over the use of agency labour; we will use the full rigours of the law to defend our members’ rights.
“Instead of this approach of seeking to undermine their workforce taking lawful industrial action, Wincanton would be far better served redoubling their efforts to negotiate a settlement which is mutually beneficial.
“Unite has already offered efficiencies and savings worth in excess of half a million pounds a year – we continue to make every effort to find a fair settlement but we will not allow our members to be treated unfairly or to have their employment undermined through the use of agency workers”, Mr Cunningham concluded.