Union claims fewer quarry job cuts now be­ing sought

The Oban Times - - News - MARK ENTWISTLE men­twistle@oban­times.co.uk

THE TRADE union in­volved in the dis­pute over work­ing terms and con­di­tions and threat­ened re­dun­dan­cies at Glen­sanda Quarry on the Morvern penin­sula claims com­pany bosses have back­tracked on the num­ber of jobs it wants to cut.

And the GMB Scot­land union has praised the Lochaber Times for its cov­er­age of the is­sue, say­ing this has played a ma­jor role in sup­port­ing lo­cal em­ploy­ees.

The Lochaber Times re­cently re­ported that three- quar­ters of the work­force at the quarry had for­mally lodged griev­ances with new haulage op­er­a­tors Oban Earth­works over the threat of re­dun­dancy and changes to their terms and con­di­tions.

Re­la­tions be­tween the union and the com­pany have been strained, with the for­mer ac­cus­ing Oban Earth­works of bla­tantly dis­re­gard­ing em­ployee pro­tec­tions en­shrined un­der TUPE reg­u­la­tions and of threat­en­ing to axe 25 work­ers.

The com­pany hit back, ac­cus­ing the union of ‘ill-ad­vis­ing’ work­ers to raise griev­ances.

Oban Earth­works, a new Span­ish com­pany, was re­cently awarded the pri­mary load-and-haul con­tract at Glen­sanda by Ag­gre­gate In­dus­tries, which op­er­ates the quarry site.

This week GMB Scot­land or­gan­iser Gary Cook claimed re­cent de­vel­op­ments had seen Oban Earth­works re­duce the num­ber of re­dun­dan­cies it was seek­ing from 25 to 16.

‘Nine work­ers have opted for vol­un­tary re­dun­dancy, while for­mer op­er­a­tor Har­g­reaves has agreed to take six staff back onto its books. That means Oban Earth­works just needs an ad­di­tional per­son to agree to go,’ Mr Cook said, adding that there had also been move­ment on dis­agree­ments over new shift pat­terns.

‘All this only hap­pened af­ter we went to your­selves, the lo­cal press, and it proved the press of­ten has a very im­por­tant role to play in such sit­u­a­tions.

‘The guys work­ing there have re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the pa­per’s sup­port.’

How­ever, Mr Cook also added that a for­mal re­quest for GMB recog­ni­tion lodged with the com­pany was not go­ing smoothly.

‘Un­for­tu­nately, the com­pany replied say­ing news re­ports it re­garded as neg­a­tive and de­risory were not the way for us to seek union recog­ni­tion. It seems like they’d pre­fer us, ba­si­cally, to be lick­ing up to them,’ he said.

Asked to com­ment on the union’s state­ments, Jon Si­marro, di­rec­tor of Oban Earth­works, said: ‘ As the con­sul­ta­tion process is still on­go­ing, we are un­able to con­firm the exact num­ber of vol­un­tary re­dun­dan­cies at this stage.

‘How­ever, we are con­tin­u­ing to have pos­i­tive con­ver­sa­tions with staff mem­bers and con­tinue to sup­port them dur­ing the process.’

The Lochaber Times has also seen an email ex­change be­tween em­ploy­ment con­sul­tants Solve HR, which acts on be­half of Oban Earth­works, and Mr Cook. In it, Solve HR sug­gest the GMB should post­pone its re­quest for union recog­ni­tion for its Glen­sanda mem­bers for var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tive rea­sons.

Solve HR also say Mr Cook’s re­fusal to give any fu­ture as­sur­ances on col­lab­o­ra­tive work­ing and re­straint in us­ing the press meant the com­pany was likely to see lit­tle value in recog­nis­ing the GMB.

Mr Cook’s re­sponse was with­er­ing, telling Solve HR that he would not ‘cow down’ to them or any­one else when it came to to how peo­ple are treated in the work­place. And Mr Cook told Solve HR that the GMB was pre­pared to use leg­is­la­tion through the Cen­tral Ar­bi­tra­tion Com­mit­tee, the in­de­pen­dent body re­spon­si­ble for re­solv­ing work­place dis­putes, as well as the courts, to pur­sue its quest for GMB recog­ni­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.