UNITY NEWS - Winter 2013 - GMB Stoke Unity S75 Branch



UNITY NEWS - Winter 2013 - GMB Stoke Unity S75 Branch
‘Pass it on’
Surprise holiday
draw win for Neil
Neil Grant, a caster at Ideal Standard in Armitage is the latest
winner of our twice-yearly holiday prize draw.
A Unity member for over 20 years, Neil received £1,000 in holiday vouchers from general secretary Harry Hockaday.
Said Neil, who is married to Gayle with grown-up children: "I
was on a day off when the union rep. rang me at home to tell
me I had won the draw and to call head office. It was a lovely
The vouchers are valid until 2016 but Neil and Gayle plan to
use them towards an overseas holiday sometime next year.
Neil Grant receives his holiday vouchers from general secretary
Harry Hockaday.
Denby strike action
leads to agreement
Following strike action at Denby Pottery
and Burleigh Pottery, both owned by
Denby Holdings, members have voted
to accept a new two-year pay deal.
About 240 Unity members
had been in dispute with the
company for two months after
being told there would be a
pay freeze this year. They also
rejected a one-off performance
related payment in 2014.
Unity said that its members
had been offered little or no
pay rise for six years, despite
being asked to hit strict production targets. Members
voted by an overwhelming
majority of over 90 per cent at
Denby and 95 per cent at
Burleigh to take part in industrial action.
Continued on page 3
Striking Denby workers are joined on the
picket line by Unity general secretary Harry
Hockaday and divisional officer John Huson.
New divisional officer: page 2
Apprentices make their mark: page 6
The journal of the
Unity Trades Union
Harry Hockaday,
General Secretary,
Hillcrest House,
Garth Street, Hanley,
Staffordshire, ST1 2AB
Tel: 01782 272755
Fax: 01782 284902
Editor: Stephen Barry
Stephen Barry Publicity
Tel: 020 8341 6660
E: [email protected]
End-of-year message
from general secretary
Dear Colleague,
2013 again saw another period of stability
in the ceramic sector. It also marked the first
year of individual factory negotiations on pay
and terms and conditions for the companies
that previously negotiated as a collective
under the 'Federation agreement'.
Although Unity withdrew from the Ceramic
Joint Council it still maintains a good working
relationship with the British Ceramic
One area of the ceramic sector which has
not done so well is sanitary.
Unfortunately Silverdale
Bathrooms closed and Unity is
currently pursuing claims on
Members run
for cancer
Eleven kind-hearted female Unity members
and head office staff raised over £1,300 for
Cancer Research UK by taking part in a 5km
sponsored Race for Life in Stoke-on-Trent.
It was one of hundreds of similar events for
women staged across the country.
Emma Hyatt, head of Race for Life, said:
"Cancer touches us all - it does not discriminate between a person's age, sex or background. It is the fear that we must all face
up to. By joining the collective force against
cancer, women can fight back and unite to
defeat cancer. It is now cancer's turn to be
For details of next year's Race for
Life events, in which entrants can
walk, run, jog or dance, go to
Head office reception have also
been selling mugs made by Churchill
China for the 'Churchill Challenge', with
all the proceeds going to the Douglas
MacMillan Hospice for cancer sufferers.
behalf of our members who lost their jobs.
Also at the time of writing this report another
sanitary company 'Ours Sanitaryware' is
going through consultation with the union on
its intention to close the factory.
Although the membership remains stable,
there are details in this issue on membership
and I would be grateful if you could pass on
this edition to a work colleague who may not
yet be a member of Unity. Hopefully they will
find it interesting and consider joining us.
I would like to take this opportunity to send
seasonal greetings to all our members and
their families and to wish you a happy and
peaceful 2014.
Harry Hockaday
Pictured before the start of the Race for Life is Unity's contingent. Back row (from left): Sue
Carter, Lesley Heath, Wendy Grieveson, Angie Hockaday, Danni-Jo Morris, Sam Morris, Karen
Dovey and Vicky Morrey. Front Row (from left): Lynne Huson, Janice Eardley and Cath Maydew.
Wedgwood worker is new divisional officer
Former Wedgwood shop floor worker and Unity works representative
Wendy Grieveson has been appointed as a divisional officer. She will
take over from Unity veteran John Huson when he retires next June.
Wendy, who started work at head office in October, will spend the
next few months 'shadowing' John Huson and other union officers
before talking up her new duties.
She spent 14 years working as a caster-sponger with WWRD, latterly at their Barlaston site, before becoming a pension's assistant at the
company in 2010.
A well-known Unity stalwart, Wendy was a works representative
from 1998 to 2010 and sat on the NEC for several years. She has spent
two years as union vice-president and most recently as a trustee.
"I am very pleased to have got the job," she said. "With my extensive experience of working on the shop floor within the ceramics
industry, hopefully I will be able to play a useful role as a divisional
The mother of two grown up children, a son of 27 and a daughter of
22, Wendy has been with her partner, Paul, for more than 20 years.
"Wendy Grieveson was appointed to the post of divisional officer
because we felt that she was the best qualified candidate for the job,"
said Unity general secretary Harry Hockaday. "The next few months
will be very much a hand-over period so that she is all ready to take
over when John Huson retires next Summer."
New divisional officer Wendy Grieveson is congratulated by
general secretary Harry Hockaday .
Solidarity on the picket line
Continued from page 1
A series of 24-hour strikes
was solidly supported at the
main Denby factory in
Derbyshire as well as at the
company's distribution site in
Derby and at Burleigh Pottery
in Stoke-on-Trent.
The company at first refused
to negotiate with the union,
including involving ACAS,
which was the reason for the
strike action. It agreed to talks
after Unity announced it
would step up the strike action
to two days a week.
Said Unity general secretary
Harry Hockaday: "A two-year
pay deal gives some security to
our members. The offer not
only took into consideration
the company's current trading
position but also gave members an improvement in pay."
strongly believe
could have been
avoided if the
employer had chosen to meet with
Unity sooner."
One of those
who took to the
Denby was David
Fearn, who has
worked on the production line for
over 40 years. He
told a local newspaper: "I'd rather
be in there making
pots than standing
outside the factory
on strike but the
company left us no
choice. With rising inflation
and little or no pay increases,
we are struggling to make ends
meet. The workers feel alienat-
Unity pickets out in force at Burleigh Pottery.
ed. This is the lowest point in
all the 47 years I have worked
at Denby."
Helen Wright is the presi-
In a ballot at the end of
September, the offer was supported by 91 per cent of members at Denby and 93 per cent
of members at Burleigh.
Paying tribute to Unity
members at both companies,
Mr Hockaday said: "I want to
take this opportunity to thank
all of our members employed
at Denby Potteries and
Burleigh Pottery for their solidarity and support. Strike
action is always a last resort;
"It was great that all the
members stuck together and I
would like to thank them and
the union's officers for all their
support. We also had the support of some non-Unity members, so we may now gain
some new recruits."
Chris Rhodes, the Unity
Striking Denby factory workers.
A family pet joins the
picket line at the
Denby distribution
Unity members stand firm at the Denby factory.
Are you saving with Additions?
Did you know that by being a
member of Unity, you have
access to Unity Additions - a
portfolio of money-saving discounts, designed to support you
both personally and professionally?
Unity Additions features discounts on cinema tickets at many
major cinemas, retail cash- back
at over 50 retailers, package holidays from the major tour operators, car servicing & M.O.Ts, 2-for-
dent of Denby Lodge and represents workers at the company's warehouse in Derby. She
said: "I am very glad the dispute is over and that the company has appreciated the
efforts of the workforce.
1 dining at over 6,000 restaurants, corporate gym memberships and much more!
Although only recently introduced as yet another member
benefit, here are some recent
genuine savings our members
have made:
A member booked their summer package holiday through
Unity Additions and saved
Another member booked their
short-term airport car parking
through Unity Additions and
saved £4.
One member earned 5% cashback at Sainsbury's and
earned £15.
If you have not yet taken
advantage of the money-saving
scheme, simply log-on to the
members' area of our website
where you find full details of
Unity Additions.
works rep. at Burleigh Pottery,
also played tribute to his fellow members. "I received their
full backing throughout the
dispute, which was very positive. On behalf of members at
Burleigh I would also like to
thank Harry Hockaday and
John Huson from head office
for all their help."
A dipper at the factory and
Unity's works rep. for 3½
years, Chris added: "I am very
pleased with the outcome,
which was as much about
achieving a sensible and moral
victory as it was about the
actual money involved."
A message
from Unity
I hope that you find this information useful and that it will
give you an insight into the
services and benefits that Unity
We spend our lives insuring
against unforeseen accidents
that would cause us terrible
hardship if we were not insured.
Pay, redundancy, disciplinary
hearings, changes in work contracts, grievances, bullying, discriminations, accidents at work
etc can also cause hardship and
distress, particularly if you have
to face them alone.
Join Unity today and you will
never have to face them alone
Unity membership brings
big benefits - pass it on!
he strength of Unity lies in its members and the wide range of
services and benefits they receive. We would like everyone to
enjoy these benefits, so when you have read this issue please
pass it on to a workmate who may not yet be a member. They will
then be able to see for themselves the many advantages of joining.
Unity is a community trade union. We represent people from a
variety of different jobs and trades including security workers, factory
workers, shop workers, care workers, distribution workers and many
others. We offer a range of different services and benefits for our
members, which are described here.
The right to be
Any employee who is required to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing by his or her employer is entitled to be accompanied by a Unity representative. The employer must permit the
representative to put the member's case, respond to any views
expressed and confer with the worker during the hearing.
Most of our members who have faced either a disciplinary
hearing or initiated a grievance procedure tell us that they
consider this to be the most important service that Unity
Personal injury claims
Sadly, many people get injured
in the workplace. Recently, the
government indicated that it is
their intention to abolish the 'no
win, no fee' principle. This is
another reason to join Unity.
Every year we recover hundreds
of thousands of pounds in compensation for personal injury
claims, whether they have been
caused by an accident at work or
Our members tell us that having Unity solicitors deal with
their claim gives them complete
peace of mind. It is also important to remember that every
penny won in compensation by
Unity's lawyers always goes to
the injured member.
More rewards
Once you have made 52
weekly contributions you are
entitled to the following
financial benefits:
Unemployment benefit £20 per week for four
Industrial injury benefit - £25 per
week for six
Immediately you join Unity you will be entitled
to the following:
Free Will making facility.
Discounted rates for the preparation of a
Will for your spouse.
Free 30 minute legal advice on any
matter affecting you or your immediate
family, such as matrimonial, debt problems, disputes with
neighbours, child access.
Discounted rates for buying and selling property through
the union's solicitors.
Discounted rates for magistrate's court work.
The Unity Additions card is a unique benefits package
offering members fantastic cost-saving discounts on a
wide range of everyday products and services,
designed to support you both personally and
Entry into two free holiday prize draws
each year.
A website which keeps you up-to-date
with union activities.
Regular issues of Unity News magazine.
benefit - £50
after 10
year's continuous membership, plus
£5 for each
year to a maximum of £100.
(We also run retirement
seminars to which eligible
members and their partners can attend.)
Death benefit - £500
(immediate qualification).
Learning in the
Unity is committed to improving the skills of our members. That is
why we were one of the first UK trade unions to set up a training
Our members have access to numerous training
opportunities, many of them non
work-related courses, such as:
Computer skills
Free consultations are available with Unity's training officer.
So how much
does it cost?
Unity's subscriptions are probably the lowest of all the TUC
affiliated trade unions. The cost is £2.40 a week for an adult
and £1.80 a week for those aged 17 and under (free membership for young apprentices and trainees earning less than the
minimum wage for that age group).
For further information about our services and benefits, and
an application form, please speak to the Unity works representative where you work. Alternatively, contact head office on
01782 272 755 and we will be happy to answer any questions
you may have.
Ask the
I have a 'zero hours'
contract but I work
the same 25 hours
every week. What does
this mean?
Like any employment
contract, the starting
point is your written
contract terms - and under
a zero hours contract the
employer typically does
not guarantee to provide
any working hours at all.
When working out the
contract terms of a zero
hours employee, a tribunal
must look not just at the
contract itself but also at
the surrounding circumstances. For example, the
tribunal must check to see
whether, even though the
contract says your contract
is for zero hours, the true
situation is that you are
required to work regular
It is important to keep
your own clear record of
your working days, hours,
pay and holidays, and to
keep copies of your pay
Call head office on
01782 272 755 if you need
any more information on
this issue.
Leanne Bourne.
Alex James.
Zoe Hannon.
Teenage apprentices
look to the future
Three of Unity's newest members have been
trained through the ceramic industry's apprenticeship scheme at Burleigh Pottery in Stoke-onTrent.
Alex James is learning to be a glaze sprayer on
Leeds pottery products, which were recently
acquired by Burleigh, whilst Zoe Hannon and
Leanne Bourne have finished their apprenticeships as Burleigh transferers, a skill over 50 years
old. All three teenagers have been trained by
Axia Solutions.
They all said they enjoyed their apprenticeships and were very pleased with all the training
and support they received.
Chris Rhodes, Unity's works rep. at Burleigh,
said all three have worked really hard to master
the necessary skills.
"Zoe and Leanne have now been taken on permanently and Alex hopes to be set on at the end
of his apprenticeship. It is important for the
union to recruit and support apprentices as
these young workers represent our future."
Why Britain is Stronger in Europe
There is a real risk that David Cameron is leading us towards a British exit from the
European Union (EU), as he seeks to appease the Eurosceptics both inside and outside
his party. That's bad for business and for workers, says Labour's leader in the European
Parliament and MEP for the East Midlands Glenis Willmott. Here she sets out just some
of the reasons why Britain is stronger in Europe.
As one of 28 EU countries,
Britain is part of the world's
biggest trading block - a single
market of more than 500 million people. Around 3.5 million
jobs currently rely on EU membership, accounting for 10% of
the workforce.
Many of our employment
rights and safety rules are
underpinned by European law.
These include the right to a 20minute break where the working day is six hours or more, at
least one day off a week, and at
least four weeks' paid leave.
They include health and
safety rules that require
employers to carry out risk
assessments and take steps to
prevent or control the risks
identified, and they protect
safety reps from unfair treatment for carrying out their
duties. They guarantee the
right not to be discriminated
against or harassed on the
grounds of gender, religion or
belief, disability, age or sexual
And they state that women
cannot be sacked for being
pregnant and guarantee that
they have the right to come
back to work after maternity
leave on the same pay and
terms and conditions.
Income gains
While Eurosceptics are fond
of telling us that being a member of the EU costs us a lot of
money, we don't just throw
money at Europe never to be
seen again. We also get a lot
back. Being a member of the
increased trade and affluence
this brings has resulted in
income gains in the UK of
between 2% and 6%. Or to put
it another way, that means
every man, woman and child
in Britain is better off by
between £457 and £1373 a year!
Of course Europe isn't perfect but by working together
with other European countries
we're stronger and more prosperous. Labour's alternative
vision would put investment
in jobs and growth ahead of
austerity and would reform
Europe, not leave it.
But at present, there are just
194 MEPs in the Socialists and
Democrats (S&D) Group,
which includes Labour MEPs,
out of a total of 776. And just 13
out of 73 UK representatives in
the Parliament are Labour
MEPs; partly as a result of
protest votes at the 2009
European elections which saw
13 UKIP and two BNP MEPs
If we want Labour MEPs
MEP Glenis Willmott.
who will invest in jobs and
growth and who will work
alongside trade unions to
defend workers' rights and
fight back against austerity, we
need Unity members to work
alongside us to get them elected in the European elections on
22 May 2014.
ware site Unionlearn joins the
to close fight against racism
It has been announced
that the Ours Sanitary
Ware factory in Middlewich, Cheshire is to
close with the loss of 180
Unity has around 50
members at the site, formerly Ideal Standard, which is
owned by multi-national
HKR International Ltd. The
Hong Kong based company
bought the business in 2011.
In a statement made to
employees on October 7,
Ours Sanitary Ware said:
"As you are aware we have
been striving to achieve a
break-even position and our
parent company HKR has
been providing cash to the
UK and constantly reviewing the cost of funding the
business." The statement
added that the planned closure was due partly to
changes in global economic
Unity general secretary
Harry Hockaday said he
was saddened by the closure announcement and
that the union would do
everything it could to
ensure that members facing
redundancy received the
best possible financial deal.
He added that Unity
would support any move
that would assist in finding
alternative solutions that
may avoid closing the site.
It is ironic that shortly
before the closure
announcement was made,
Ours Sanitary Ware won a
national competition to
select a company who had
"successfully dealt with a
challenge." This referred to
the reopening of the Ideal
Standard site, re-employing
former employees and
bringing back manufacturing from China.
Unity delegates and officers
will gather in Blackpool
next May for the union's
biennial conference.
The conference will take
place from May 14-16 at the
town's Imperial Hotel.
Show Racism the Red Card and
unionlearn - the TUC's learning
and skills organisation - have
signed a Memorandum of
Understanding which commits
both parties to working
together to combat
racism through
Unionlearn will
use its network
of 30,000 learning reps in workplaces across the
UK to get the antiracism message
Show Racism the Red
Card is the UK's anti-racism
education charity. It uses the
high profile of professional
footballers as anti-racism role
models and campaigns against
racism through publications,
educational events and workshops for adults and young people.
The organisation was set up
in 1995 with the help of the UNISON trade union.
TUC general secretary Frances
O'Grady said: "Professional footballers too often face horrific
and very public racial abuse.
Show Racism the Red Card has
shown that footballers can use
their profile to be effective
anti-racism ambassadors, particularly
when speaking to
young people.
"By working
with Show Racism
the Red Card, the
TUC can educate
people and set
about eradicating
racism school-byschool, college-by-college
and, through our network of
30,000 learning reps in workplaces across the UK."
A Memorandum of
Understanding has also been
signed between unionlearn and
The Age and Employment
Network. The agreement commits both organisations to work
together to support the employability and career progression
of older people in the workforce.
More young women than
men stuck in low-paid jobs
The proportion of young women in low-paid, low-skill jobs has trebled
over the last 20 years, according to new TUC-commissioned research.
The study, carried out for the TUC by The Work Foundation, shows that
between 1993 and 2011 the share of female 16-24 year-olds in employment doing low-paid work has increased from seven per cent to 21 per
cent. Over the same period the proportion of young men working in
low-paid jobs also rose from around one in seven to one in four. The
study also reveals how gender still plays a huge part in determining
young people's careers.
Just one in a 100 young women worked in skilled trades in 2011, compared to one in five young men. And four times more young women
worked in personal service occupations like hairdressing than young
The research also shows how despite being better qualified than their
male peers, young women are still following employment
routes that offer lower wage returns.
The gender jobs split finds that:
More young people have become trapped in
low-paid, low-skill jobs.
Gender segregation is rife at the lower end of the
youth jobs market.
There is a big gender split in apprenticeships.
Young women are getting a lower wage return on
their qualifications.
Young women are more like to be economically inactive because of
caring responsibilities.
Commenting on the research, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady
said: The youth labour market has become a harsher place for young
people over the past 20 years, especially for young women.
While there has been a welcome rise in the number of females gaining qualifications, many still find themselves trapped in low-skill, lowwage jobs."
Protest over
EU loophole
in agency
workers' pay
In September the TUC lodged a formal
complaint with the European commission against the UK government for failing to implement the Temporary
Agency Workers Directive properly, leading to tens of thousands of agency
workers being paid less than permanent
workers despite doing the same job.
The TUC complaint says that the UK
government's flawed implementation of
the EU directive has allowed the abuse
of so-called 'Swedish derogation' where employment agencies pay
agency workers far less than permanent
staff doing the same job.
The TUC has gathered evidence from
workplaces where agency staff are paid
up to £135 a week less than permanent
staff doing the same job in the same
The Swedish derogation contract
exempts the agency from having to pay
the workers the same rate of pay, as
long as the agency directly employs
individuals and guarantees to pay them
for at least four weeks during the times
they can't find them work.
In Sweden, where these contracts
originate, workers still receive equal pay
once in post and 90 per cent of normal
pay between assignments. However in
the UK workers have no equal pay rights
and are paid half as much as they
received in their last assignment, or minimum wage rates, between assignments. Agencies can also cut their
hours, so they receive as little as one
hour of paid work a week.
Evidence gathered by the TUC shows
that the Swedish-style contracts are
used regularly in call centres, food production, logistics firms and parts of
manufacturing. The number of UK workers on Swedish derogation contracts has
grown rapidly since 2011. Around one in
six agency workers are now on these
contracts, according to a report from the
Recruitment and Employment
The TUC believes that the growing
exploitation of workers on Swedish
derogation contracts, along with the rise
of zero hours contracts and involuntary
temporary work, show that behind
improving employment statistics lies an
increasingly insecure and vulnerable
Unless the UK government acts to
protect workers, the jobs market will
continue to be dogged by low-wage,
insecure jobs.
Weekly subs
to rise by 10p
The weekly membership subscription will go up from 1st January
2014 from £2.30 to £2.40 for adults
and from £1.73 to £1.80 for the
youth rate. Despite this, Unity subscription is probably the lowest of
all the TUC affiliated trade unions.
master the
Veteran member
Peter Green, who joined Unity (then
called CATU) back in1969, has
received an honorary life membership certificate to mark more than
40 years with the union.
A Murray Curvex printer at the
Burleigh Pottery in Middleport,
Stoke-on-Trent, he worked at
Johnson Brothers' Imperial Works
and Wedgwood's Alexandra Works
before moving to Burleigh in 2003.
Peter received his life membership certificate from Unity general
secretary Harry Hockaday together
with best wishes for the future.
By the time you receive
this issue, the winner of a
Unity prize draw, who
will receive a computer
worth up to £250, will
have been announced.
All members who completed the Learnmyway on-line
December had their names
entered in the free draw.
Unity's training manager: "We
want to help members get the
best basic computer skills
needed to allow them to use
the internet and all it has to
"People who can use the
internet find it helps them to
get the best deals as far as
cheaper holidays, cheaper gas
and electricity and cheaper
insurance are concerned. They
can also keep in touch with
friends and family plus a host
of other benefits."
He added that computer
users are more likely to have
the confidence and skills
required when seeking promotion at work.
"We are here to help you
and you are invited to use
Unity's training facilities at
head office in Hanley on
All you need to do is ring
him on 01782 272 755 to book
an appointment. There is free
Seminar keeps reps up to date
So as to be kept up to date with current union activities as
well as changes in the law, more than 30 factory representatives attended a day’s briefing session at head office.
In the morning they were
addressed by union officer
Dave Wood, who spoke about
the crucial issue of recruitment, including the importance of signing up new members at sites where Unity is
already recognised.
Stephen Pinder, from the
union's solicitors EAD, spent
the rest of the day outlining
changes in the world of
employment law. He said: "It is
a time of great change as
regards legal principles associated with the world of work,
both in terms of the workplace
and also how legal cases might
then be pursued."
He pointed out that a significant date was 29 July when
the Government made changes
in the following areas:
the workplace the
1 Within
introduction of "private
conversations", this is a mechanism for parties to an employment relationship to negotiate
an exit from the workplace
without the contents of the discussion ever being considered
by an Employment Tribunal
unless there has been improper
Tribunal fees
2 Employment
were introduced. For a single unfair dismissal claim to
proceed to a Tribunal hearing
it may result in a fee being paid
of £1,200. Unity has agreed to
assist members in relation to
the payment of the fee, this
being a very significant benefit
for Union members.
rules before the
3 New
leading to increased formality
in the process, another good
reason why members should
obtain help with employment
disputes from Unity.
cap was introduced for
4 A
compensation for unfair
dismissal of one year's loss of
"Even before 29 July there
were a number of important
changes in relation to various
aspects of employment law,
including the law on consultation for redundancies in
respect of whistle blowing and
other issues," said Mr Pinder.
General secretary Harry
Hockaday said: "There was a
very good attendance at the
seminar and many interesting
and thoughtful questions were
asked by representatives. We
hold these regular events for
factory representatives so that
they can be kept abreast of the
latest developments within the
union and outside. By doing so
they will best be able to help
members on issues that affect
them on a daily basis."
take a
step back
in time
Workers at Moorcroft, some of them Unity members, dressed up
in period costume to commemorate the opening 100 years ago
of the company's new factory. Back in 1913, owner William
Moorcroft led his workers from their former place of work to
their new state-of-the art factory in Sandbach Road, Burslem.

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