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Mash Direct: Northern Ireland food company accused of denying rights to employees

category down | worker & community struggles and protests | press release author Monday June 07, 2010 15:39author by Gerard - Independent Workers Union Report this post to the editors

Mash Direct: Northern Ireland food company that hosted Prime Minister accused of denying rights to employees.

It was with astonishment that many employees of Mash Direct read the headlines of Newtownards Chronicle (27/05/2010) following the stately visit by Prime Minister David Cameron to the food production factory in Comber, County Down where they routinely spend 60 hours or more of their week. Manager Martin Hamilton spoke eloquently of the growth of the firm through, ‘determination and hard work’ and said nothing of the determination of those who do the hard work to have their basic employment rights upheld within his expanding business.
David Cameron meets Mash Direct management & employees
David Cameron meets Mash Direct management & employees

Independent Workers Union, who is leading a protest action at Newtownards shopping centre at 12 noon, Wednesday 9 June, has sought on several occasions to meet with management on behalf of members in the factory after receiving reports of ongoing violations of their rights. Furthermore, refusal to provide staff with a written statement of their terms and conditions of work, refusal to permit staff to take a grievance through the formal procedure, and refusal of their right to be represented by a trade union amounts to breaking the law, and is a bigger scandal given the profile of the company last week and awards given to the company in recent times.

However all requests from staff and from the union have been ignored. As president of Independent Workers Union Patricia Campbell highlighted, “These are rights enshrined in Employment Law that Mash Direct have continued to ignore to the detriment of workers in the factory".

"We have written to Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, to Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and local MPs highlighting how ill-advised was their visit but inviting them to make amends by insisting Mash Direct operate within the law. We are also calling on the supermarkets such as ASDA, Sainsburys and TESCO to insist that their suppliers uphold employment law and the right of staff to trade union representation”.

Ms Campbell went on to say, “It is incredible in this day and age we must turn to Industrial Tribunal and actions such as we are staging on 9 June just to insist on simple workers’ rights that were won decades ago but we will continue to fight for these rights and will step up the campaign until they are won within this factory.”

Concerned members of the public are invited to join with the protest gathering near the main entrance to the Newtownards Shopping Centre 12 noon, this Wednesday 9 June.

Press contacts Dr Brian Garvey 07931900167

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