Sports Direct Latest

Mike Ashley has agreed to review the terms and conditions of agency staff working at Sports Direct. You can read about it  here

But- Unite fear that this may be little more than a publicity stunt

A review by Mike Ashley into the use agency workers at Sports Direct will be nothing more than a public relations stunt if it fails to end ‘Victorian’ work practices at the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse, Britain’s largest union Unite warned today (Friday 18 December).
The review announced by the Sports Direct board today, follows a Guardian investigation which found that extra, unpaid time taken for “rigorous” compulsory searches meant workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
Likening working conditions in the warehouse to a ‘gulag’, the investigation also found that workers were being ‘docked’ wages for arriving as little as a minute late to work.
Unite regional officer Luke Primarolo said: “Shameful ‘Victorian’ work practices have no place in modern Britain and this review should not deter HMRC from investigating the non-payment of the minimum wage to agency workers at Sports Direct.
“Unite has repeatedly raised concerns with the board and Mike Ashley directly about the use of ‘Victorian’ work practices. We look forward to participating fully with Mike Ashley’s review and to working with Sports Direct to eradicate the mistreatment of workers at its Shirebrook warehouse.
“If his review is to be taken seriously then it has to have concrete outcomes, such as restoring dignity at work by moving agency staff at Best Connection and Transline workers onto permanent contracts.
“A failure to do so will do nothing to restore investor and customer confidence and leave the board open to accusations of doing nothing more than engaging in a public relations stunt.”

Orgreave Justice Fight Continues

Mark Metcalf, Friday, December 18th, 2015 – UniteLive

Unite has backed the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) since its inception over three years ago. One of the campaign stalwarts is Unite industrial organiser Joe Rollin from Barnsley.

Joe is now urging “trade unionists to back the events we are planning, which are intended to demonstrate to the home secretary Theresa May that there is popular support for a public inquiry or Hillsborough-style independent panel into events at Orgreave in 1984. ”On Tuesday (December 15) the OTJC treasurer Chris Peace and Mike McColgan presented its 86-page legal submission to Theresa May. She had indicated her willingness to consider an inquiry request following widespread media coverage in June of the OTJC’s condemnation of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) decision not to conduct a full investigation.The IPCC had taken over two-and-a-half years to conduct an initial investigation only to conclude that it didn’t have the resources to conduct a full-scale investigation. The police watchdog indicated that it had been unable to get to the truth as it could not locate a series of important documents, including the police operational orders that were drawn up in advance of June 18, 1984.At the Battle of Orgreave that day, 95 miners were arrested after thousands of police officers – many in riot gear, with others on horseback – brutally assaulted miners participating in a year-long strike aimed at defending jobs and mining communities.

When the cases came to court they were all abandoned after the evidence by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) was heavily discredited and later the force made out of court settlements to 39 miners. Yet no police officers were ever charged of any offence despite clear evidence of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public offence.

According to former printworker Joe this has left, “a legacy of mistrust within mining communities of the police and it is one of reasons I joined the OTJC.”

The OTJC legal submission has been prepared voluntarily by four barristers, including Michael Mansfield QC and Gareth Pierce, both of whom represented miners at the original trial.

“We have worked closely with the legal team and I’m very proud of everyone involved. There is some quite sensitive material within our submission but in addition to written testimonies we have also included lots of photographs to back up each section,” says Joe.

The submission was presented after the OTJC met with May in July. Joe says the meeting was “very positive. Now I hope the home secretary will see how strong the case is for either a public inquiry or an independent panel similar to one that investigated the Hillsborough disaster.”

Joe and the campaign won’t though be sitting waiting for May to contact them. “Ever since SYP referred themselves in November 2012 to the IPCC over Orgreave we have constantly sought to show that there is popular support for our cause.

“By adopting a very professional attitude we have won over many sections of the press, even those who aren’t on our side have adopted a position of respect, and the events we’ve organised have been well backed.

“Unite has supported the campaign and many Unite members have attended previous events. In the New Year we are planning some very imaginative events and we want them involved again. So watch this space because this important struggle continues.”

Get involved with the Orgreave justice campaign here

Campaign guide from social security summit

A draft of the campaign guide following the social security summit with Unite and the PCS.

You can read it here:  Campaigning guide for a fair social security system


Callum Stanland funeral


Unite Community members distributing leaflets outside the Jobcentre Plus office in Leeds. L-R Jack Dillion, Jo Rollin, Callum Stanland and Brian.

Dear Colleagues,


Many of you have been in touch after the sad passing of our dear friend and comrade Callum Stanland. I know how many of you knew Callum and that many of you will want to pay your respects and attend his funeral service.

The funeral is Weds 16th Dec 1:30pm at Grimsby Crematorium, Weelsby Ave, Grimsby, DN32 0BA

The wake will be at Grimsby Central Hall, Duncombe St, Grimsby, DN32 7EG

We will be providing a coach from the Leeds office. Can you please contact the Leeds Unite office on 0113 2364830 if you are wanting to travel on the coach.

Please bring union banners for display outside the service.

Callum’s family have asked that instead of flowers that we make a donation to the WEA in Callum’s memory

The link is below



John Coan – Unite Community Coordinator NEY&H



Unite Statement In response To Paris Attacks

Unite the union expresses its deepest sympathy and sends heartfelt condolences to the friends, families and loved ones of all those killed and injured in the horrific attacks that occurred in Paris.

The perpetrators of the act and those behind it are guilty of a most barbaric act aimed at destabilising and dividing French society. They will not succeed.

It is essential at this trying and difficult time that time that politicians and authorities are vigilant, but it is also essential that they do not reach for ill thought out solutions or slip into knee jerk reactions – that is precisely what those behind the act would want.

We must not allow the tragedy to be used as a reason to turn our backs on the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing chaos, war and destruction, and we must act in unity against those who may seek to use the tragedy to sow further divisions, mistrust and hatred in society.

Unity is strength.  Unite will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of France.



Fair Tips For Waiting Staff

Fair tips stamp
We won at Pizza Express! After Unite turned up the heat with a summer of campaigning the popular pizza chain announced (3 September 2015) that it would drop the 8% admin fee from tips left on a card. Giraffe, Ask, Zizzi, Byron Burger and most recently the Casual Dining Group, owners of Bella Italia, Belgo and Cafe Rouge have all said they too will scrap the fee and hand 100% of tips to staff.

But with restaurants like Wahaca, and Jamie’s Italian under fire for deducting a percentage of sales from credit card tips, Prezzo and Strada still swiping a slice as an admin fee and Bill’s restaurant accused of pocketing a large proportion of the service charge, it is clear that we’ve still got some way to go in the fight for fair tips.

Now we need the government to stamp out these rip off practices once and for all. We’ve set down an early day motion in parliament for MPs to get behind.

What you can do to help

You see the problem is that tips paid on a credit card and service charges are the property of the employer. As they own them they can do what they like with them. So until staff are given 100% ownership rights over their hard earned tips with complete control over how they are shared out, rogue employers will continue to cream off staff tips.

  • Please tip in cash – leaving cash means the whole amount will go to the staff (divided between waiters and kitchen staff).
  • Confused by the service charge? Then ask for this to be removed & leave it in cash instead
  • Share your story – Fed up of your employer taking a slice of your hard-earned tips? Tell us about it.
  • Work in the hospitality sector? Then we want to hear from you. Contact us. Get organised with Unite on your side
  • Follow Unite’s hospitality branch on Facebook and Twitter using #FairTips
  • Not in a union? The join Unite – Your union. You voice

Visit the campaign page and view the Fair Tips film here.


Save Our Steel

Dear colleagues

On Saturday, Unite joined with our fellow steel unions, the GMB and Community, to hold a rally in Sheffield.

The event brought together hundreds of members and their families, travelling from Wales, Scotland and across England.

A film of the full event is in production and will follow shortly, but for now here is the GS’s speech to the workers and their families.


Here, too, is Len’s piece from the Sunday Mirror yesterday (it appeared both in the paper and online)

The campaign goes on – please do lend your support to our members and this vital industry by sharing these links.

With best wishes

Unite communications team