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Cheshire blast plant wages to be paid

Thursday, August 13, 2015

GMB welcome statement that wages will be paid to Cheshire workers during redundancy consultations following tragic blast at plant in July.

The grievance on unpaid wages is resolved with a satisfactory outcome for our members and this particular aspect of this tragic matter is now closed says GMB.

GMB, the union for workers in furniture and timber industry, welcomes the statement issued by Wood Treatment Ltd on the evening of Wednesday 12th August that employees will be paid during the consultation period on redundancies. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press releases on the matter.

On Friday 17th July four workers at Wood Treatment Ltd in the village of Bosley near Macclesfield in Cheshire were killed by the blast at the plant. See notes to editors for copy of report in the Liverpool Echo.

Ray Carrick, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB welcome this statement and we believe that this meets the demands we had made in our public statement of Friday 7th August and in our formal grievance which was submitted to the company on Monday 10th August, that staff must be paid their normal wages throughout the consultation period.

We note with regret, however, that it has taken the company some six days to make their statement.

Staff attended a meeting with the company on Friday 7th August in Congelton Town Hall and left that meeting with the understanding that they would not be paid their wages during the 30 day consultation period. Whatever the reason for this, that was the clear understanding staff had of the situation and that is what they reported to their union.

On the same day, (Fri 7th Aug), staff attended a meeting with GMB and the union then made a public statement regarding the redundancies and saying that any non-payment of wages would be a breach of contract. The company failed to make any statement challenging our comments on that day.  

In addition, on the morning of Monday 10th August, the GMB notified the company in writing of a formal grievance on the issue of non-payment of wages. Once again, the company made no attempt to challenge the grounds of our grievance either directly to the union or even in the public domain.

The person in the company who received our grievance was the same person who had led the company presentation at Congleton Town Hall on Friday 7th August and so was in a perfect position to know what the company view was on this. This person made no attempt to challenge or query in any way the grounds of our grievance.

On the afternoon of Monday 10th August, the GMB made a further press statement saying that we were challenging the non-payment of wages through the grievance procedure and, for yet a third time, the company made no attempt to challenge the grounds of our grievance.

Belatedly, on the evening of Wednesday 12th August, and a full six days after the meeting in Congleton Town hall, the company put out a press statement claiming it had always been their intention to pay staff their wages during the consultation period.

GMB perspective on this is that we are not interested in debating back and forth what the company actually intended or did not intend. We submitted a grievance demanding that staff be paid their normal wages in the usual manner throughout the consultation period. The company have now indicated that this is what will be happening, therefore, as far as we are concerned the object of the exercise has been achieved. The grievance, therefore, is resolved with a satisfactory outcome for our members and this particular aspect of this tragic matter is now closed".

End

Contact Ray Carrick organiser on 07974018412 or email Ray.carrick@gmb.org.uk or 0151 727 0077 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press release dated 12th August

GMB CHALLENGE UNPAID WAGES FOR CHESHIRE WORKERS FACING REDUNDANCY FOLLOWING TRAGIC BLAST AT PLANT IN JUNE

Failure to make the payment of wages is a breach of contract and an unlawful deduction which will be vigorously challenged and pursued says GMB

GMB, the union for workers in furniture and timber industry, has submitted a collective grievance on behalf of Wood Treatment Ltd employees over their unpaid wages. This follows a meeting on Monday 10th August 2015 at 2.30pm with the workers in the local primary school in the village of Bosley near Macclesfield in Cheshire to discuss redundancies at the site. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release dated 10th August.

On Friday 17th July four workers at Wood Treatment Ltd were killed by the blast at the plant. See notes to editors for copy of report in the Liverpool Echo.

Ray Carrick, GMB Regional Officer, says in a letter to owner George Boden “GMB is submitting a collective grievance over non-payment of wages to staff during the consultation period over potential redundancies.

The staff are still employees of your company until such time as the consultation period is completed and a final decision is made on redundancies. These staff should be on continuous pay during this period. Failure to make the payment of wages to your employees is a breach of contract and an unlawful deduction of their wages. This will be vigorously challenged and pursued by GMB.”

End

Copy of GMB press release dated 10th August


GMB MEETING IN BOSLEY ON 10TH AUGUST WITH WOOD TREATMENT WORKERS FACING REDUNDANCY FOLLOWING TRAGIC BLAST AT PLANT IN JUNE

We want to fully understand the position and to establish what courses of action are open to workers to protect their legal rights at work says GMB

GMB, the union for workers in furniture and timber industry, has called a special meeting for Wood Treatment Ltd employees on Monday 10th August 2015 at 2.30pm in the local primary school in the village of Bosley near Macclesfield in Cheshire to discuss redundancies at the site.

On Friday 17th July four workers at Wood Treatment Ltd were killed by the blast at the plant. See notes to editors for copy of report in the Liverpool Echo.

Ray Carrick, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB is disappointed to hear that Wood Treatment Ltd, the employer at the site of the recent explosion and tragedy in Bosley, has issued notices of potential redundancies to its workforce.

We are further alarmed that the employer has informed it’s workforce that they will not be paying any more wages to them, even though the consultation has not been completed.

We plan to meet workers today to fully understand the position and to establish what courses of action are open to them to protect their legal rights at work"

end

Copy of report from Liverpool Echo dated 27th July 2015

Fourth body found following explosion at Cheshire wood mill

body, believed to be that of 28-year-old Jason Shingler, taken to Royal Liverpool Hospital for identification


A fourth body has been recovered from the wreckage of a huge explosion at a wood flour mill.

Four workers at Wood Treatment Ltd in the village of Bosley, Cheshire, were unaccounted for following the blast at the plant on the morning of Friday July 17.

Derek Moore, 62, has been identified as one of the victims, while the two other bodies recovered last week are thought to be those of William Barks, 51, and Dorothy Bailey, 62.

The search for their colleague, Jason Shingler, 28, continued over the weekend.

Today Cheshire Police said: “Officers from Cheshire Constabulary, Cheshire Fire & Rescue and the Urban Search and Rescue team have recovered remains, which were removed and taken to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for post-mortem examination.

“This was undertaken this afternoon and further forensic tests are required for identification purposes.

“Investigators from the police, fire and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) continue to work on site to establish the cause of the incident.

“This has been an extremely difficult and distressing time for all involved, and especially for the families of the victims. A number of agencies have provided support for the community in the wake of this devastating incident.

“Additionally, the officers from the different emergency services have acted with great courage and it has been heartening to see the community rally round together to support not only the recovery effort, but also each other and the families of the victims.”

The HSE served Wood Treatment Ltd with improvement notices two years ago in which it warned of a risk of an explosion or fire, although the company complied with the notice.

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