Socialist Worker

Defend victimised Bfawu trade union activist at Samworth Brothers

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2507

A Bfawu union meeting of Samworth Brothers workers

A Bfawu union meeting of Samworth Brothers workers


A victimised trade union activist at a food factory in Leicester has slammed bosses for sacking him because of his union activities.

Kumaran Bose was sacked after attempting to build the Bfawu food workers’ union at Samworth Brothers’ food manufacturer in Leicester.

He told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been framed because I was trying to organise the union.”

Hundreds of Samworth workers had flocked to join Bfawu after bosses introduced new contracts that scrapped overtime and weekend and night shift allowances. The new contracts could see some workers lose as much as £3,000 a year.

But many workers were also fed up at Samworth’s long hours, dangerous conditions and bullying bosses—as Socialist Worker revealed earlier this year.

Bosses sacked Kumran last Friday. A statement by Bfawu regional organiser George Atwall said Kumran’s sacking had come after he launched a formal grievance procedure against bosses.

George said, “Kumaran’s only crime has been his outstanding success in convincing more than 50% of the workers in his factory to join the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union.

“What his managers particularly disliked was his brave decision to stand up for his rights and refuse to accept that he and his fellow workers should be treated so appallingly, and that their families should be denied a decent standard of living.”

Disciplinary

He added, “Bizarrely, when Kumaran lodged a formal grievance against his Samworth Management at Kettleby Foods, the company management team responded by embarking upon a retaliatory disciplinary procedure against Kumaran, accusing him of bullying his employers”.

Kumran said, ““They’ve said that my work colleagues are not happy with me. They said I’m not allowed to speak to the media and they said I’m not allowed to write stuff about the company on Facebook.

“But the reason is because of my union activity.”

Bosses are also refusing to recognise Bfawu—despite the fact that the union claims to have more than 50 percent membership at Kumaran’s factory.

It comes as Bfawu union members at two factories owned by another food producer—2 Sisters—have staged militant strikes against similar attacks on their pay.

Kumran said, “The campaign to get people in the union has been successful. But at the moment they’ve taken me out. They’ve set me up as an example of what happens if you try to organise.

“People are still joining. But it’s slowed down because people are scared now.”

Kumran is planning to appeal against his dismissal. Bfawu have launched a campaign to defend him and are calling for support.

The union needs to defend its activists—with strikes if necessary.


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