Fans of the film, Life of Brian may remember that Reg asks: “But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
Let’s imagine the question: “But apart from opposing poltical discrimination and political vetting, campaigning against offshoring and migrant labour, campaigning for decent wages and against cuts and providing legal resources for people in trouble with benefits or at work what has Solidarity Union ever done for us?”
Let's answer that question. One of the most popular articles in the latest issue of British Worker is entitled A Real Union that wins Real Cases!
The main thrust of the article is that Solidarity is a real union that wins real industrial and workplace cases. We have won thousands of pounds for our members in various settlements. When it comes to representing our members at grievances and disciplinaries we have a very high success rate.
The article then provides a case study, as told by one of its Ulster-based members:
“My story reads like a screenplay, and a lot of what happened defies belief. My Solidarity rep (who has thirty years plus of trade union experience) had never come across the likes of this before. It was a real David v Goliath affair. They had an expensive legal team – but we were still too much for them.
The main part of my Industrial Tribunal grievance was against my Line Manager. He had been bullying me from day one, but I had four year's worth of case notes written against him, so I was always one step ahead of him. The other issue was being constantly overlooked for promotion (he actually interviewed me on one panel!)
My Industrial Tribunal grievance was launched in early 2010, after my employers (the Civil Service) refused to meet or recognise Solidarity Trade Union.
In revenge, they invented lies about me (and trumped up charges that were laughable to say the least) to back up my suspension.
They then they started a dirty tricks campaign in revenge for me submitting my grievance.
After months of doing their damnest to break me and sack me, they finally backed down. They recognized Solidarity and my rep. From then onwards, it was just a case of their house of cards slowly toppling. They eventually asked to meet us and settle out of court.
I would thoroughly recommend Solidarity. They are the total opposite of the useless leftie unions - they deliver the goods and aren't in the pockets of anyone.”
This article proved to be so popular that we’ve been asked to provide a few snapshots of our latest cases. As our membership is varied and diverse – basically a microcosm of Britain's working population – most cases involve simple disciplinary and/or working condition issues. Here are just some examples:
Complaints from customers lead to disciplinary hearing
A Solidarity member working in the service industry had received a number of customer complaints and was brought before a disciplinary hearing. It was made clear that he faced the sack. The Union pointed out his previously good record and argued that the complaints were actually directed at the whole team rather than just him.
Outcome: The employer agreed to a lower sanction of a written warning plus some customer relations training. Coaching of members to present their case logically and cogently is an important part of the work of the Union and helped in this case. The Union is able to put objective, non-emotional points to the member for them to consider.
Company Pension and Tax issues
A Solidarity member recently received a company pension for ill-health retirement (which the Union obtained). However, our work does not stop there. The Union is now looking at the over-charges of tax in their final working year and on the pension itself.
Outcome: A good pension for the member retired on health grounds. Tax issues still in progress.
The Union is always seeking to improve the expertise and ability of Representatives so as to provide the best and most extensive service possible.
Disability and Sickness Review
A Solidarity member registered disabled under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)) was under a sickness review due to time off. Someone who falls under DDA is allowed a 'reasonable adjustment' to their working conditions including locations, hours etc. Most companies will have, or arbitrarily create, a sickness target for their employees. With someone who is registered under DDA that adjustment should be generous. After breaching the sickness target the member was in danger of being put on Level 2 sickness review which can lead to dismissal.
Outcome: The Union was able to prevent dismissal.
The Union is aware of legislation and has a good knowledge of precedents which it can apply to specific cases.
A Solidarity member was dismissed. Unfortunately he failed to advise the Union that his job was threatened or of any disciplinary action against him and did not bother to Appeal as he believed the company was 'out to get him'. Once he spoke to the Union it was realised that he did indeed have a case that warranted an Appeal. However over a month had passed. Since most company's restrict a written request for an Appeal to a short period it didn't look good. The Union was able to persuade the company to allow the appeal, however. We pointed out that
- a) the dismissal didn't take effect until a period of notice
- b) the designated Manager of the Appeal had left in the meantime
- c) the dismissal letter didn't refer to a specific date the member had to Appeal by.
Outcome: The Appeal is to go ahead.
The Union is able to present persuasive argument on behalf of members.
Sex discrimination and unfair dismissal
A Solidarity member is had claimed unfair dismissal and sex discrimination. After many months of disclosures, Case Management meetings, orders, requests and ultimately negotiations the case was expected to go to Tribunal. The case was listed for a whole month. Ranged against him was a Government backed organisation with its own in-house legal team and the employer had engaged one of the top employment lawyers in the country to represent them in the actual Tribunal. The members resolve however was strong and the Union determined to obtain justice despite the heavy odds stacked against us.
Outcome: Shortly before the case was to be heard a settlement was proposed by the employer and after a protracted negotiation a figure was agreed. Since the case had dragged on for some 15 months it was probably a relief to all concerned and the settlement compensated the member for loss and avoided a difficult hearing!
The Union can negotiate compromise settlements to get the best deal possible for members.
Review of teacher
A teacher had experienced a few difficulties at work. After performing well had encountered some problem pupils that disrupted class. Since this disruption (which affects the studious as well as the difficult pupils) was viewed by others in the normal process of classroom observation the member was put under an official capability review. The teacher was in effect seen as 'too soft/nice' and became a target. One particular unruly class led to a disciplinary and his job was under real threat.
Outcome: Union was able to get the school to agree a formal plan of action to assist the teacher to reassert their authority. Hopefully the member will be able to put the problems behind them and develop a firm but fair persona in the interests of all the pupils.
The Union is experienced in performance reviews and related disciplinary issues and can suggest solutions which are of benefit to both the employer and employee.
These cases perfectly illustrate Solidarity’s claim that “We fight for the rights of our members in particular and for British workers in general.”
Without the union, some of the above workers could have been facing a bleak future. In all cases, the advice and actions of Solidarity has – to date - prevented this. This only goes to prove that, with membership fees of only £5 a month, Solidarity Trade Union probably offers the cheapest form of insurance available!
Find out more about Solidarity – Britain’s only nationalist and patriotic trade union – by phoning 0779 4486 858, or e-mail us at email@example.com
Join Solidarity for just £5 a month by clicking on this link:
If you prefer to pay by Standing Order you can request a form from Solidarity Trade Union, Room 407, 12 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1DD.
You can donate to Solidarity here:
Read British Worker – the magazine of Solidarity Trade Union. Get the latest issue by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a pdf copy.
Follow Solidarity on Facebook: http://www.causes.com/causes/104298
Follow Solidarity on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Solidaritygb