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Dear Colleagues,

On Friday 11th January 2019 the DC Management announced to the night team that they were going into redundancy consultations to move the night operation to days. The business case for taking this action is that this will then create a cost saving for the Company by doing the tasks on days and not having to pay a night shift payment that forms part of the rate of pay as per contract.

From the initial announcement and throughout the consultations and one to ones carried out so far, it has been commented on how professional the night team have been by the DC Manager and DC HR Officer. It has also been recognised how good the night team operation have been and it has been said that they are a credit to the Company and that they don’t want to lose anyone to redundancy.

With this in mind, it both angers and saddens me to inform you of the following:-

• The current Company stance is that they will not be adhering to the redundancy policy and the pay protection over 12 months for those that transfer to days to avoid redundancy.

• As it stands they will only offer pay protection for 8 weeks before the full loss of the £1.50 an hour night shift payment. This will result in a considerable pay difference over the following year to team members than if the £1.50 night shift payment was phased down quarterly as per policy.

We have taken legal advice on behalf of the members and have been informed that this could result in an unlawful deduction of wages, as the policy forms part of your contractual terms of employment. This is totally disrespectful to the night team members and a morally disgusting way to treat the ‘professional team members’ the Company says it wants to keep. Many of you have told me that the Company used to be a great place to work and had family values but that has gone for ever and when the Company treats its staff this way I cannot disagree.

This has been raised at senior level at head office. Historically store redundancies of night shifts and previous DC2 have received the pay protection as per policy and contractual terms of employment, yet the Company have said this never happened and if it ever has it was a mistake. We also put across to the Company that long serving team members, based on this Company stance, could take redundancy instead and could increase the Company costs; however, the Company were not interested in this.

This response is unacceptable and doesn’t explain why the Company are wilfully causing, what we believe, is an unlawful deduction of wages as per our legal opinion.

So what happens next?

As consultations have not yet come to an end, no team members have as yet been confirmed that their contractual terms will not be adhered to and have been notified that they will receive an unlawful deduction of wages. Although I doubt it, the Company team running the consultations could change their mind and revert back to honouring contractual terms.

If, as we expect, the Company willingly cause members an unlawful deduction of wages then the GMB Legal Director at GMB national office has requested we collect details of transferring GMB members to start the legal process on their behalf. If required I will write to all DC GMB members again regarding this issue with how to make contact and what details are required by the Legal Director. I have also forwarded supporting documentation of previous adherence to the policy to the GMB National office.

If any of your colleagues are not GMB members and intend to transfer to avoid redundancy then I would encourage them to join straight away to be part of this process as all legal costs are covered as part of the GMB membership. It has never been so crucial to be a member of the GMB within Wilko with its current direction towards the team members.
With regards,

Paul McGuire.
GMB Convenor for Wilko.
GMB Wales and Southwest.

Posted: 11th February 2019

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