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Kent Protest Over Union Rights

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

GMB Protest On Thursday 19th June At Kent Mobile Phone Repair Workshop Over Denial Of Union Rights To Staff

Employer refusing to discuss working conditions, health and safety, the removal of breaks, zero hours contracts and productivity targets that are simply impossible to hit says GMB

GMB will hold a protest demonstration outside the factory of mobile phone company SBE in Ashford, Kent, on Thursday 19th June after the Company denied members employed there their right to trade union representation.

A number of GMB members have raised grievances around a number of issues at the plant only to be informed by the company that Frank Macklin their union organizer will not be allowed on site. This is a clear breach of Section 10 of the Employment Relations Act (ERA) 1999 which states that the individual has the right to be accompanied by a union representative of their choosing.

The details of the protest are as follows:


From 1pm Thursday 19th June 2014

Outside SBE factory,

Beaver Business Park,


Kent, TN23 7SH.

SBE run the facility at Ashford in Kent where they repair and service mobile phones for a number of providers including Samsung, Blackberry, Nokia, Apple and Sony. Employees at the site either work directly for SBE or through an internal agency which supplies workers on zero hours contracts.

Andy Prendergast, GMB Senior Organiser, said “GMB members in SBE have demanded representation after the company gave notice that they were to lose their much needed breaks.

GMB has a long history representing our member’s on this site. These members have raised a number of issues around working conditions, health and safety, the removal of breaks, the employment of staff on zero hours contracts and productivity targets described by some members as being simply impossible to hit.

The response of the company has been to deny them their right to be represented by their union despite such a message being a clear contravention of the Employment Relations Act.

GMB call on the company to reverse this decision immediately and to begin meaningful discussions as to how the staff member’s grievances can be resolved. Should they refuse to do so we will have no option but to initiate immediate legal proceedings against the company as well as holding further demonstrations to highlight this behavior to both staff and customers.’



Contact: Andy Prendergast, GMB 07984 492726; Frank Macklin, GMB 07983 326743  or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880

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