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Latest GMB updates for members in British Gypsum

BRITISH GYPSUM / ST GOBAIN JOINT UNION WAGE CLAIM - 2021/2022

Date: 06/05/2021

Dear GMB Member 

Firstly, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. 

GMB and our joint union representatives met with the company today (6.5.21) in the hope of reaching a resolution to the pay dispute. We attended the meeting in good faith, expecting an improved offer, having made it clear to them the thorough rejection our members had given to their previous proposal. 

The company’s revised offer is as follows: 

  • 2% pay increase
  • Applied to All Elements of Pay
  • Date Effective 1st April 2021
  • 1 year Deal
  • Guaranteed £300 Bonus paid in July Payroll
  • Further £100 paid after 12 months if we achieve Company Budgeted profits (this payment will based upon achievement of overall business performance in 2021)
  • Wind down elements as previously negotiated 

As you can see that the offer is the same amount that was overwhelmingly REJECTED by union members, the only difference being the split of bonus moving from £200 for the first half of the year and £200 for the second half of the year to being £300 and £100 respectively. The argument was made that the £300 was guaranteed but we already know that the company are well on target to meet the budgeted profits, because of your hard work! 

This offer is an insult to the dedication and hard work shown by our members in difficult times. We made it clear that we were willing to negotiate a better offer and were happy to have discussions around an increased percentage offer but unfortunately the company has chosen to repackage the offer already rejected. 

The company have argued that the proposed bonus’ equate to a 3% rise, so why not just offer 3%? This is not an affordability issue it is one of maximising profits in future years and disregarding the wishes of its workforce that achieve them. 

We have made it clear that this offer could not go to the members as it is the same offer that you have overwhelmingly rejected.

This means that we have no other option but to move to an industrial action ballot. We set this out to the company and have given them the opportunity to avoid strike action and to enter into meaningful discussions about an acceptable award. 

Please have discussions with your site reps about how we have ended up here, we have given the company time and information to get a deal that members will accept and they have ignored that and forced the position of an industrial action ballot. 

We will, next week; if a real offer isn’t forthcoming, begin the process of preparation for an industrial action ballot, with that in mind please can you do the following: 

  • Check with your rep/local union office that your contact details, including personal email address, mobile phone number and home address are up to date. Ballots will be posted home so this is incredibly important
  • Ensure that the union knows the correct job title for you, if this information is wrong then we could well end up with a legal challenge to our ballot
  • Talk to you colleagues, if people want a say, they need to be in a union. Make sure your team are members, people can still join now and have a vote. You can join online at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join or https://join.unitetheunion.org

We are sorry that this has come to this but with members standing together with a collective voice we have no other option. 

Finally, the only way to have the right information about the unions actions and stance is to engage with us and your reps, misinformation is just that, if you aren’t sure about what is going on please approach a rep, they will happily correct any misconceptions of the unions position. 

Please stay strong, stay together and make your voices heard. 

Yours sincerely

Charlotte Childs

GMB National Officer

 


 

Date: 20/04/2021

Dear GMB Member

Firstly, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

This statement is an update on the situation regarding the wage claim for 2021/22 and to notify you of the collective ballot results from GMB and our joint union members.

GMB and our joint union have been balloting the members at Robertsbridge, Sherburn, Fauld, Kirkby Thore, Newark, Barrow and East Leake on the offer below which the company have stated is their Best and Final offer. This ballot had no recommendations to accept or reject the offer so there wasn’t any unconscious bias in the members making a decision:

1. An above inflationary increase of 2%, (1-year deal, applied to all elements of pay).

2. An additional bonus opportunity of £200 paid in July if the company meets its budgeted profit after the first 6 months of trading.

3. A further bonus opportunity of £200 paid in December if the company meets its budgeted profit after the second 6 months of trading.

4. A proposal for GMB and our joint union members with longer service around the “Preparation for Retirement Scheme”. Your employer is proposing that in addition to the existing rules which permit access to the scheme, that the rundown opportunity would now apply at age 63 with a minimum of 10 years’ service, and in turn your employer will then open access to the benefit, at the point of retirement, if you have achieved 35 years’ service or more at the time of retirement – regardless of age.

The ballot papers have been collated and verified and GMB and our joint union members have, in the majority, REJECTED the offer from the company. Charlotte Childs and Scott Lennon have wrote to the company and informed them of the results, requesting that they revise and improve the offer. A meeting with the negotiating representatives from both unions will be meeting next week to discuss possible Industrial Action (if needed) and build a strategic plan in preparation of any action. We will also keep you informed of the company’s response.

Yours sincerely                                                          

Charlotte Childs                                                                    

GMB National Officer                                                            

 


 

Date: 26/03/2021

Dear GMB Member 

Firstly, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

This statement is an update on the situation regarding the wage claim for 2021/22 and a report back from the most recent wage negotiation held with your employer.

At that meeting GMB and our joint trade union in an attempt to progress and bring a conclusion to the important issue of the wage claim, put forward a revised pay claim which was namely:

2.5% wage increase on all elements of pay.

A bonus payment in total over the year of £600.

An increase in long service days ie: 15 years’ service = 1 extra days holiday.

It is very regrettable that your employer in response has refused to accept any of the above and has rejected all three.

However, your employer has notified GMB and our joint trade union of what is a full and final offer set out below:

An above inflationary increase of 2%, (1-year deal, applied to all elements of pay).

An additional bonus opportunity of £200 paid in July if the company meets its budgeted profit after the first 6 months of trading.

A further bonus opportunity of £200 paid in December if the company meets its budgeted profit after the second 6 months of trading.

A proposal for GMB and our joint trade union members with longer service around the “Preparation for Retirement Scheme”. Your employer is proposing that in addition to the existing rules which permit access to the scheme, that the rundown opportunity would now apply at age 63 with a minimum of 10 years’ service, and in turn your employer will then open access to the benefit, at the point of retirement, if you have achieved 35 years’ service or more at the time of retirement – regardless of age.

Your employer believes that this is designed to encourage and assist employees in preparing for and adjusting to their new lifestyle when they cease work due to retirement and provides paid time off on a gradual basis as the person runs down to retirement in the last 6 months of employment. 

Please note that Payment of 2 and 3 are dependent on achieving 100% of the company’s budgeted profit subject to the usual tax and NI deductions and would be available for 2021 only. These one-off bonus payments combined would provide an additional payment equivalent to approximately a further 1% of pay in your employer’s opinion.

Please note that no exact specific figure of where the budgeted profit triggers payment has been forthcoming from your employer.

GMB and our joint trade union met to discuss your employers full and final offer and have decided to hold a consultative ballot of its membership.

GMB and our joint trade union have decided that this should be an open ballot with no recommendation to accept and no recommendation to reject, and to leave it to the respective membership of both GMB and our joint trade union to decide which way they are to vote.

The consultative ballot will start on Monday 29 March and conclude on Friday 16 April.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer 

 


 

Date: 04/02/2021

Dear GMB Member

Firstly, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

This statement is to inform you of the situation with your pay claim after talks with your employer was held on Tuesday 2 February.

GMB and our joint trade union on your behalf had submitted a claim for a 3% pay rise on all elements of pay in which would be a one-year deal.

In response your employer has offered a 2% pay rise on all elements of pay to which will be a one-year deal stating that in their view in the current economic circumstances that this is both fair and reasonable.

You will no doubt be aware of your employers stated position which was reiterated in workplace notices placed up at plants.

In response GMB full time and local reps believe that the offer falls short on what we believe your employer should be putting forward.

One glaring omission from Tuesday’s meeting was the amount of profit to what your employer is possibly making. GMB and our joint trade union understand that the full annual results for 2020 along with the outlook for 2021 will be published on 25th February 2021 and we look forward to reading and to view what the results say.

However, we also understand that in the fourth quarter alone in 2020 sales are significantly expected to outperform expectations and reach around 10.2 billion Euros, and a record operating margin is expected in the second half results of 2020.

GMB and our joint trade union understand the economic impact the pandemic has caused, however through your hard work and a willingness to assist the company in these very testing times we believe that you should be rewarded with a wage offer above the 2% which is on the table, and so, GMB and our joint trade union recommend a rejection of the 2% offer put forward by your employer.

GMB and our joint trade union have asked already for the 2% to be increased - this was rejected.

The consultative ballot will start on Monday 8 February until Friday 26 February.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp                                                               

GMB National Officer                                                 

 


 

Date: 25/09/2020

Dear GMB Member

The consultative ballot on the offer of 2.5% pay rise has been concluded, the result is by a huge overwhelming majority to accept the offer of 2.5% from your employer.

I would like to thank all GMB members that participated in this ballot in what are difficult and very testing circumstances.

I have asked your employer to implement the wage increase as agreed ASAP, along with back pay owed, and have also asked for confirmation of a date for talks to start ref: bonus payments in December.

As ever we will keep you informed of developments.

Finally thank you for your continued membership, and to all GMB members to stay vigilant and safe regarding the virus.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp                                                                         

GMB National Officer         

 


 

Date: 07/09/2020

British Gypsum / St Gobain Joint Union Wage Claim 2020/21 Update

Dear GMB Member

Firstly, I hope that you and your family’s are safe and well in these continuing difficult times.

I write to inform you that I attended a meeting with representatives from your employer on 2 September to discuss your wage claim for 2020/ 21. These talks arose due to the recent consultative ballot held in response to the pay freeze that your employer was set to possibly implement.

As a result of holding further talks I are pleased to announce that your employer has offered a 2.5% increase on all contractual elements, to be backdated to April 1st 2020.

This represents currently therefore an above increase inflation pay rise which is above both CPI and RPI inflation figures, which should ensure - in what are very unpredictable and volatile economic circumstances – that member’s basic wages are secure hopefully for the foreseeable future.

Your National officer and local plant reps are recommending - very strongly - that given the economic circumstances as a result of COVID 19 that members accept the offer and vote YES in the consultative ballot.

I asked about the situation regarding bonus payments. Your employer has given a commitment to review these in December, and therefore we can give you a categorical assurance that this issue will be acted on in December, whatever the economic circumstances are.

The ballot commences Monday 7th September 2020 and closes noon, Friday 25th September 2020.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer

 


 

Date: 06/08/2020

British Gypsum/St Gobain Wage Claim 2020/2021

Dear GMB Member

Firstly, I hope you and your families are safe and well.

As a short update your employer has notified us that they are likely to resume wage talks sometime in September, where hopefully negotiations can take place.

I have insisted that these talks should take place as soon as possible preferably at the beginning of September and at the very latest mid-September.

When a date has been sent to us from your employer I will contact you.

On the issue of the recent consultative ballot, a huge overwhelming majority of members who participated in the ballot voted – not unsurprisingly - to reject the pay freeze implemented by your employer. Indeed, only four people decided to vote against, which was two from each trade union.

Thanks to all that participated in the ballot.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer

 


 

Date: 20/07/2020

British Gypsum/St Gobain 2020/2021 Joint Union Wage Claim Update

Dear GMB Member

Firstly, I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well in these uncertain and difficult times.

I write as a consequence of a statement to which your employer wrote on 6 July 2020. It states that the wage discussions which were proceeding before lockdown was announced have now been suspended for 2020 and will remain suspended until the ' crisis ' has ended. Furthermore, also contained in the statement from your employer was that bonus payments for members along with other employees would also be suspended for the remainder of 2020.

To say this is a disappointment is an understatement and this was stated to your employer verbally at a meeting held recently.

After a meeting with local reps it has been agreed to consult with members if they accept and agree to the decision by their employer to - in effect – implement a pay freeze throughout 2020.

Therefore, your reps decided to instigate a consultative ballot asking your thoughts on this.

I urge all members to participate in this ballot, which will be distributed to you, and to vote no, which will send the message to your employer that to suspend both wage discussions and bonus payments is not acceptable.

This ballot will run for a few weeks and if it is the case that members do not accept your employer’s decision to suspend talks on wage discussions then I will seek urgent talks with your employer to resolve this issue ASAP.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer 

 


 

Date: 10/07/2020

Dear GMB Member

Mental Health Charter ​

British Gypsum and the Trade Unions have worked together to successfully implement new Safe Operating Procedures enabling the successful re-start of our mining, manufacturing and logistics across the UK. I are now scaling up our operations to support the construction industry, provide protection for our customers and colleagues livelihoods, and play a vital part in the recovery of the UK economy.

This period of colleagues being furloughed is something that I never envisaged would happen, and for some of our workforce, this may have presented health challenges.  As we return to work, mental health and wellbeing and the need to look after people who may be experiencing challenges, is of paramount importance for British Gypsum and GMB Trade Union. 

I have agreed a five-point charter that outlines our commitment to offer support to anyone who might need it, encouraging an open and inclusive workspace for us all.

  1. We each have a responsibility for ourselves, each other, and a commitment to our own wellbeing.
  2. It’s good to talk, if you have a problem speak up.
  3. We are here to listen without judgement.
  4. We will respect you, and what you share with strictest confidence.
  5. We will offer reassurance and identify sources of support for you.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer     

 


                          

Date: 12/06/20

ANNOUNCEMENT - UK UPDATE - RAMPING UP AND NEXT FURLOUGH PERIOD

Dear GMB Member

I write on behalf of GMB trade union who is recognised with British Gypsum / St Gobain in response to a statement that you put out - we assume - to the workforce.

Some of the content contained in the statement came as a surprise, given that at a conference call meeting to which we both attended, held previously with senior management from the company ( only 24 hours earlier ) absolutely nothing was stated specifically in relation to as you put it ' finding alternative options '. You then as an example put these so called options namely job share, reduced working hours and voluntary redundancy.

Regarding the paragraph containing your ' alternative options. ' This has caused a great deal of concern and indeed anger, culminating now in GMB reps stating that much of the workplace, already worried about their future employment before your statement coming out, now having read it has now made it even worse.

I ask that you look and take note of what is contained in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) and in particular section 188 which states what a company must do in relation to “adequate information ‘’ for statutory collective information.

At the present time I have no information on how many jobs could / will be lost, where the job losses are potentially going to be, and importantly no consultation has taken place with regards to how these job losses are going to be met, and crucially how with joint proper consultation with the trade unions that job losses can be avoided. Also no information on what job share will ultimately mean and a reduction in working hours also remains unanswered and although in your statement you allude to consulting closely with the trade unions this should be done when you have a clearer picture of what is going to be presented to the workforce.

The most important point however is that I wish to raise is that we have been informed that British Gypsum / St Gobain are not in a position as yet to clarify this, then why given that this information has not yet been decided, is yourself as the CEO of the company then proceeding with what you see as options, without any detailed discussion on how this issue is going to ultimately play out?

Job losses and the threat of job losses has a profound impact on livelihoods.

Because of your statement this has prompted GMB members to ask further questions but - significantly – seemingly with no answers.

GMB wish to make it clear that we understand the current economic situation confronting the UK, and indeed the world, which is having an impact on companies throughout. The need to work together in these unprecedented times is going to be crucial, and so I ask that if future announcements is to be communicated to the workforce, then in turn they are communicated better than the one dated 10 June, with more sensitivity given the position GMB members are facing at the moment, and more information contained therein.

Finally you ask will there be a recession? My understanding is that the chancellor four weeks ago formally announced we were in one, little wonder when the UK economy shrunk by an all-time record of 20% in April!

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer

 


 

Date: 25/03/2020

British Gypsum Current Situation

Dear GMB Member

You will no doubt be aware of your employer making the decision to re-open plants around the UK.

This decision was made as stated by your employer on advice taken by the Government.

Your employer discussed this with myself and Scott  late this afternoon and prior to any statement put out.

I want to make it clear that I stated clearly to your employer of the need to - in essence - police in particular social distancing, to make sure that canteens and other places where people are likely to gather are monitored and make sure that it stops.

I expect sites to be cleaned spotlessly and consistently. They gave us an assurance that they will undertake this fully.

We all need to work together, to make sure that social distancing takes place at all times because this will save lives, it is as stark as that.

Yours sincerely

Steve Kemp

GMB National Officer

 

 
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