March on the Boss, Samsung Bristol: VICTORY

Out side Samsung shop

On Thursday 10th of July members of Bristol IWW and friends visited the Samsung phone shop on Park Street in Bristol to speak to an unscrupulous boss who has recently dismissed an employee with no good reason.

Matthew had worked for the same boss for over 5 years in his two laptop and phone repair shops. After a holiday of 6 weeks, he returned to find his hours reduced. A few weeks later he was told that he was ‘surplus to business requirements’ and that they did not have enough hours for him. This dismissal came completely out of the blue with no disciplinary procedure at all. Insultingly in his last week of work (having only been given one week’s notice) Matthew’s job was advertised in the window of the shop.

Matthew is owed over £1000 in unpaid holiday pay and wages. His former employer has offered no redundancy pay to help Matthew while he looks for another job.

Matthew decided to take the issue to his union, the Industrial Workers of the World, who wrote to the company and asked for a meeting to ensure Matthew received his wages and the holiday pay. After a terse, incoherent and rude written response from the boss, (in which the company expressed that they felt there was ‘no need’ for any further discussion), the union decided to visit in person to deliver their demands and ensure that this boss knows what to expect when he treats his workforce unfairly with little respect.

8 members of the union accompanied Matthew in the shop while around 20 others handed out flyers to potential customers in the street. The boss reacted by insisting they had to leave and he didn’t have any time, but the group stood their ground, delivered a letter with their demands and the boss had to listen to Matthew.

The recently hired manager of the shop was phoned and an organiser with the union spoke with him on speaker phone. Both bosses refused to negotiate with the union and while the phone conversation was taking place, the shop was visited by two police officers.

After assessing the situation the police explained to the boss that the union had every right to be holding their protest.

Samsung Bristol are now taking Matthew’s dispute seriously and are currently seeking legal advice. The union expects that the company will be advised to pay Matthew the money that he is owed or face a much larger cost should this escalate to employment tribunal. Not only have they unfairly dismissed Matthew and withheld his money, the company has broken the law in several other ways including not paying wages on a regular basis, not providing employees with a written contract, having no coherent sick pay policy and having no disciplinary or grievance procedure for longstanding employees.

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Matthew and the IWW are still waiting for correspondence from the company. We urge all readers and friends not to buy services from Samsung Bristol or RepairPhones4u on Park Street and to take your custom to a company that respects its employees. For more information on the company please visit http://samsungbristol.co.uk/

Having problems at work? Fed up of the way you’re treated by your boss? Want to organise with your colleagues for a better deal? Please visit bristoliww.org.uk to contact your local branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, the fighting union.

For more on this story….

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