More than 550 engineers at Great Britain’s Romec, a facilities and maintenance employer, recently called for strike action, part of an escalating dispute over alleged bullying management.
According to a report from the Communications Workers Union (CWU), the dispute began over management misuse of information from tracking devices in engineers' vans. Cases have allegedly emerged where managers have trawled detailed data to find tiny discrepancies in order to victimize, discipline or sack staff. (WCxKit)
Romec has since allegedly intimidated staff and unilaterally changed their working hours, leading CWU to believe it is acting unlawfully by withholding pay and initiating redundancies without consultation.
Ray Ellis, CWU national official, said, "Romec is acting like Big Brother and has completely lost the trust of its staff. The regime of intimidation and culture of psychologically bullying engineers is making the working atmosphere intolerable for our members.
"We believe Romec is now acting unlawfully by withholding pay from staff after unilaterally changing their hours — for example from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shifts to unsociable 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. shifts. If staff do not, or cannot, work the new hours, their letters offering money if people leave the company is outside of redundancy regulations. All this is putting pressure on staff already being harassed by managers using tracker data. There are legal double standards here — if the union took unlawful action, the company could get a court injunction, but with the company's actions we will have to go through lengthy tribunal proceedings. We urge management to engage in meaningful talks. However our confidence in Romec keeping to agreements is very low," Ellis said.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, added, "Romec's aggressive behavior toward experienced engineering staff is shocking. We urge the company to put its energy into resolving this situation instead of further intimidating staff. This will only be resolved through talks and that is where we want to be." (WCxKit)
Romec is owned by Royal Mail Group and Balfour Beatty. A Royal Mail spokesman noted no employees of Royal Mail Group are involved in this action. “We are very confident that the robust contingency plans we have in place will ensure there will be no impact on our customers from the planned industrial action," the spokesperson said.
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