Management at Pemberton Park & Leisure Homes agree to terms with GMB union members, after membership increased from 30 to over 140 trade union members at Wigan site.
Steven Whittle, GMB union organiser, tells us about it ‘’I remember my first meeting with the company back in June, the company position was patronising and hostile and they negotiated from a position of strength, the final quote as I walked out "if you want to take your 30 members on strike we will run the company with the other 100" it was at this moment I knew if we was to get anything out of this we would need the membership to organise within GMB trade union.
I went and met the members and held a workplace ballot, it was unanimously rejected, a feeling of "enough is enough" came through. I had a straight conversation with the members, saying that if they wanted to win this, we needed to get the support of others, as the company paid the current numbers no respect, and would walk over us.
Over the weeks to come we honed our communication, so we could quickly update people and mobilise the workforce, and within 2 further rejected ballots, the workforce had galvanised with the original GMB union members to swell towards a 100.
A moment that emphasised this, was when asked to meet the members in the original porta cabin, I asked for a bigger location, and as the call to members went out, the owners face dropped when he seen the numbers move to the factory.
The first day of strike action started and we had 102 members, within the first 3 days of strike that swelled to over 140, and still grows today.
Leading into the 3rd day of strike, we ramped the pressure up, by announcing further strikes, for the entire of September, at this point the company blinked.
We went into the negotiations and the tone had completely changed, the Member's had fought for respect now they had it, the company falling over itself to end the dispute.
My quote "still happy for me to take my 30members on strike?"
The offer was accepted, 7% sick pay and holiday booking improvements amongst other things, but this is just the start, the members are now organised, now unionised, and will take one step after the next, to achieve everything they deserve, this was only done by being part of GMB trade union, and standing together.
GMB North West & Irish Region