Marley Workers Dismissal Condemned by Union Which Pledges Further Action

Roof tiles like ones made by Marley Workers

MARLEY, the roof tile manufacturer, has dismissed three of its workers and disciplined two others by issuing them with a final written warning.

The GMB Union says the company’s actions are as a result of the workers taking part in a strike last year.

The five Marley workers are all members of the GMB union. The union has condemned the disciplinary hearings that took place on 23 February 2021.

The union alleges the workers, who include a workplace union representative, have been treated illegally for taking part in lawful industrial action at the Marley roof tile factory in Beenham, Berkshire in December 2020.

Marley Workers Pay Dispute

The industrial dispute is over pay and conditions. The company, which was taken over by Inflexion Private Equity Partners in August 2019, offered workers a pay rise of 1%. This was instead of the 3% they had asked for.  Workers have said there is a “toxic bullying culture from the top management”.

During the strike, GMB Union says a Marley manager was reported by union members as having ‘driven his car at excessive and dangerous speed at the picket line’ of workers. He was also reported as encouraging a lorry driver to drive at the picket line. This, the union says, was captured on CCTV. The incident was reported to the police who took no action. Marley has also taken no apparent action against the manager.

A Marley spokesperson said, “We respect any employees’ right to participate in lawful industrial action and we have not, and would never, take action against any member of staff for striking.

“Out of respect for confidentiality, we do not comment on issues relating to specific employees. But we can confirm that all matters are addressed in accordance with our disciplinary procedure.

“We continue in discussion to resolve a pay dispute at our Beenham site and we have put what we believe to be a fair offer on the table. The current offer is in line with pay agreements at our other six sites. We remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement shortly.”

Industrial Action

GMB has been balloting its members over further industrial action. Staff at the site are currently Working to Rule by following all safety protocols in place in the Marley factory. They have also been balloted separately on strike action over the disciplinary action against their colleagues. GMB has reported the company for multiple breaches of Health and Safety regulations, including breaches of Covid laws.

GMB Regional Organiser, Nikki Dancey said: “GMB has balloted members about strike action in defence of the disciplined workers and is preparing the ground for Employment Tribunal claims to be made against the employer for discrimination on grounds of trade union activity.”

“This was a lawful strike, undertaken after a stringent postal ballot, by workers engaged in keeping the building industry supplied with roof tiles.  The work is dirty, noisy and potentially dangerous, and their pay offer was derisory. These workers deserve an apology from the company. Not to be penalised for standing up for their rights.”

“GMB will continue to seek justice for our members through the appeal process. By pursuing industrial action against the company, by taking action in the legal system, and any other action GMB members feel appropriate.”

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