GMB, the Union representing Marley Tiles Employees in Reading, has argued that the firing of three Marley Tiles workers and the issuance of three final written notices to two other Marley Tiles workers is unwarranted because the industrial action they participated in at the Beenham tile factory was of a legal nature.
The industrial action took place in December 2020, resulting in punitive action for five members, who amongst them have over 100 years of employment with the company.
In comparison, no action has been taken against the boss who was widely reported to have driven his car violently at strikers on the picket line, as well as urging a truck driver to do the same, which was caught on tape.
Despite warnings of his conduct to the authorities, the company has instead chosen to fire the employees who were reportedly threatened and driven at by the boss.
GMB has been balloting members who are the focus of punitive action by the company. Workers at the factory are currently Working to Rule whilst adhering to all safety procedures in operation, and have already taken part in a vote to protest over the treatment of their coworkers.
GMB have since identified the company for numerous health and safety legislation violations, including major violations of Covid rules.
The current disagreement is focused on salaries, with the firm that was purchased by Inflexion Private Equity Partners in August 2019 having made £21.5 million profit from revenues of £143.5 million over the previous year, but unable to give such a fair pay rise to its hard-working workforce this year.
GMB Regional Organiser, Nikki Dancey said: “The three dismissed workers have an incredible 101 years in employment at Marley Tiles, between them, far longer than many of the company senior management. The manager who displayed total disregard for his own staff during the strike has been lauded by the company, while they have been sacked.”
“Marley Tiles supplies household names such as Bovis Homes, Crest Nicholson, and Jewsons. GMB urge these long-established companies not to allow the actions of Marley Tiles Senior Management to affect their reputations.”
“GMB has balloted members about strike action in defence of the disciplined workers and is preparing the ground for Employment Tribunal claims to be made against the employer for discrimination on grounds of trade union activity.”
“This was a lawful strike, undertaken after a stringent postal ballot, by workers engaged in keeping the building industry supplied with roof tiles.
“The work is dirty, noisy and potentially dangerous, and their pay offer was derisory.
“These workers deserve an apology from the company, not to be penalised for standing up for their rights.”
“GMB will continue to seek justice for our members through the appeal process, by pursuing industrial action against the company, by taking action in the legal system, and any other action GMB members feel appropriate.”