Gomer Press union members threaten legal action
By Hannah Jordan Friday, 07 September 2012
Unite members at Gomer Press have vowed to continue a planned series of walk-outs and to take legal action against the firm and its managing director.
The announcement follows a series of meetings between Gomer’s senior management, including managing director Jonathan Lewis, the company’s 13 union members and Unite, to determine a solution to the ongoing dispute at the Ceredigion, Wales-based publisher.
Gomer’s 13 union members initiated industrial action last month citing allegations of bullying and harassment at the plant and a series of employee contractual changes, including a 2% pay increase and sick pay alterations, that were implemented without negotiations with Unite.
Union members agreed a three half-day and nine 24-hour strikes every Wednesday from 15 August until the end October but managing director Lewis told PrintWeek that at a meeting on 22 August "there was general agreement that the strike could be brought to a satisfactory conclusion".
However he said that at a subsequent meeting between union members and regional Unite officer David Lewis that members had been persuaded to continue with strike action.
He added: "The directors of Gomer Press as well as the company’s union chapel are anxious to bring this dispute to an end, but David Lewis is intent on causing harm to Gomer’s reputation by advising his members to continue with the strike and making unfounded allegations."
He maintained that "not a single complaint of bullying" had been received by the directors of the company. He continued: "I agreed to investigate the allegations in the presence of an independent member of ACAS but David Lewis refused the offer."
But David Lewis said that Unite members at Gomer Press had no option other than to continue with further action. "The terrible treatment of union members that helped trigger the dispute has not gone away.
Unite’s Lewis said that union members at Gomer Press would continue with the weekly strike action and that their complaint was in the process of being referred to an industrial tribunal.
He added: "Whilst there is no movement from Gomer Press to tackle the culture of workplace bullying and get round the table with us we can see no immediate solution to the dispute.
"Our members, rightly, will not accept the appalling treatment they have been on the receiving end of and this matter can only be resolved if all parties meet without any pre-conditions being set by either side.
"An industrial tribunal could be very damaging for the company as it could result in significant consequences in terms of compensation."
Jonathan Lewis said he had be given no further details regarding the legal action.
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