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Super Warehouse (SW) employs 5,000 workers at its main premises in Milton Keynes

Super Warehouse (SW) employs 5,000 workers at its main premises in Milton Keynes. The warehouse is a distribution centre for electronic goods. The majority of its workers are employed to process orders for despatch around the UK. All warehouse workers are informed by email at the start of their employment with the company that their terms of employment are governed by reference to the Super Warehouse Staff Handbook which is made accessible to employees as a series of policies on the staff intranet site. The Handbook states that the company recognises the Union of Warehouse Workers (UWW) for negotiation and that the workers’ terms and conditions of employment are governed by reference to such collective agreements as are in force at the time. Recent revisions of the handbook state as follows: Discipline and Dismissal 1. Any worker who exceeds 6 points on their disciplinary record may be disciplined or dismissed. 2. A worker who reports sickness absence shall receive one point on their disciplinary record. 3. A worker who exceeds the 10% absence record in any 6 month period may be dismissed. 4. Examples of gross misconduct include misuse of company email, breach of confidentiality, sexual offences and assault of other members of staff. The company has encountered a number of problems with its workers. Ajaz works on 12 hour shifts and has one 30 minute lunch break and two 15 minute rest breaks. He has worked for SW for the last 2 years and had a very good work record until recently. In the last 6 months, however, he has had to spend more time at home caring for his wife who has a serious illness. He has also been suffering bad headaches and stress from working the long shifts and taken sickness leave as a result. Last month he was called to see Bapoto, his line manager and told that he has exceeded the 10% absence record. Ajaz protested that he had serious family problems at home but was told that his disciplinary record was unacceptable. SW has now decided to increase productivity. Performance is to be monitored by means of hand-held devices which monitor all tasks and worker movement. The company negotiates a new collective agreement with the UWW which includes the following: Productivity and Security 1. Workers are required to meet productivity targets. A 5% pay rise will be made to all workers who exceed productivity targets. 2. Any worker who fails to meet productivity targets will receive a pay reduction calculated on the worker’s percentage failure in productivity. 3. Re-training and possible re-deployment will be offered to any worker who is made redundant as a result of this process. These changes are communicated to all workers in a revised statutory written statement of terms. The UWW has consulted the workers on these changes but failed to conduct a ballot of its members. Most of the workers are prepared to accept the new terms. However, 50 union members, led by Fumbe, a union activist, are angry about the changes and say that they will not accept the new productivity deal. Fumbe goes to Baputo and says that some workers are refusing to work under the new conditions. Delith, who is not a member of the trade union and has not signed the new written statement of terms, is informed by Bapoto, that she has failed to meet her productivity targets this month and told that she is to be made redundant. When she asks Bapoto about the re-training and re-deployment, he tells her that the redundancy clause is not contractual and does not apply to her. Eniola, who joined the company 9 months ago as a senior accountant, has been using her work email for private messages. She has also been secretly copying lists of suppliers so that she can set up her own company. Management at SW have been monitoring her email account over the past 2 months in order to investigate these matters. Closed circuit surveillance cameras have also revealed that she has been physically intimidating a junior member of staff with whom she had a short relationship. Advise Ajaz, Fumbe, Delith and Eniola regarding their employment rights on these facts, paying particular attention to any contractualissues. Advise the UWW on the status of the new collective agreement. (For the purposes of this assignment, you do not need to analyse in detail any potential legal actions that employees may have relating to termination of employment.)


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