Issue date
13 Mar 2018
A round-up of union news from across the South West

West Country Workers


Health and Safety training

A new Stage One course for new Health and Safety Reps will start in Bristol on 2 May and run for ten Wednesday until 11 June.

Register here

Employment Law course

Starting on 3 May in Bristol for ten Thursdays until 12 July.

Register here


No excuse for not paying the rate

The government has released a list of employers who have failed to pay their employees the minimum wage. The list includes Wagamama, TGI Fridays, and Marriott Hotels, with the most prolific offending sectors being retailers, hospitality businesses and hairdressers. Car washes are also high on the list where exploitation can be rife.

TUC South West Regional Secretary Nigel Costley said: “Too many employers, including household names, are failing to pay their staff properly. The minimum wage has been around for nearly 20 years – there’s absolutely no excuse for not paying it.”

Four cash wash firms in Plymouth are named. Nigel Costley said: “The list of car wash non-payers shows the balance between automation and cheap labour.”

In the south west region, the list includes:

  • Summer Lodge Country House Hotel Restaurant and Spa, West Dorset failed to pay £6,168.48 to 24 workers..
  • Smart Hand Car Wash, Plymouth, failed to pay £4,817.09 to 2 workers
  • Wright Leisure, trading as Xercise4less, based in Leeds with a branch in Bristol, failed to pay a total £54,290.37 to 240 workers.
  • TGI Friday's failed to pay £59,347.64 to 2,302 workers.
  • Plymouth Car Wash failed to pay £4,122.92 to 3 workers.
  • Home Life Carers, Mid Devon failed to pay £3,675.32 to 31 workers.
  • Manor House Hotel in Oakehampton, failed to pay £1,776.33 to 31 workers.
  • Clean as a Whistle Super Hand Car Wash, Plymouth PL5, failed to pay £1,706.26 to 2 workers.
  • Day's Restaurant, Poole failed to pay £1,001.34 to 19 workers.
  • Edworthy Computing, Mid Devon, failed to pay £548.45 to 1 worker.
  • Neath Road Car Sales & Car Wash, Wiltshire, failed to pay £348.69 to 5 workers.
  • Tsang's Kitchen, Wiltshire failed to pay £221.1 to 1 worker.
  • Valley Road Hand Car Wash, Plymouth, failed to pay £153.3 to 1 worker.

National Minimum Wage details here

Airbus jobs

Airbus has played down reports that it is planning to move or cut 3,600 jobs as a result of the issues with the A380 and A400M planes. Airbus said “Airbus deeply regrets that the process on the current subject matter has been disturbed by leaks to the media, which resulted in excessive reporting about alleged job cuts in its four home countries”.

South West Workers gave £2.4 billion of free labour in 2017

426,882 people in the South West put in an average of 7.3 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2017. This averages £5,603 a year that each of those workers is losing out in pay.

The TUC analysis also found that while public sector employees make up a quarter (25%) of all employees, they account for more than a third (39%) of all unpaid overtime.

Check your unpaid overtime here

Brexit impact

The Charter for Public Finance and Accountancy recently held a session in Bristol to consider the impact from Brexit on public services. The panel included Nigel Costley for the South West TUC.

Read the report here

Hard Breakfast?

The European Union has offered the UK’s fishing industry tariff-free access to its Single Market if EU member states can continue to fish in Cornish waters.

Cornwall’s fishing community was one of the most vocal of the pro-Brexit campaign groups, demanding ‘Cornish fish for Cornish fishermen.’ But UK consumers tend to eat mostly imported food whereas most of what we grow and catch is exported. Some 80% of fish landed in Cornwall is exported to the EU.

A recent report predicts that after Brexit food prices will rise but this may mean we eat more locally produced food and drink.

Big new council must work for everyone 

The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Trades Union Council has cautiously welcomed the creation of a new council for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole on the understanding that it will guarantee improved services for the area’s diverse communities and safeguard local jobs.

Neil Duncan-Jordan, BCPTUC president said: “This major change in how our local services are governed and provided must also mean that we get to see tangible improvements in economic development, protection for the environment, adult social care, housing and education. Otherwise this will simply be seen as a cost-cutting exercise, where the only ones who benefit will be a small group of councillors.

“It is also likely that once the new council has taken shape, there will be calls for an elected mayor – creating a kind of southern powerhouse to rival other areas of the country. This will demand even greater scrutiny of what the council does and how it does it. Ordinary working people in the area will need proper assurances that this is something that will benefit everyone and improve the lives, particularly of those who need the most support.”

Read more here


National Trust pay deal

National Trust workers, including the Swindon headquarters staff, have voted to accept a 4.5% pay offer, described by Prospect Union as a ground-breaking deal.

Prospect officer Matt Sperring said: “The National Trust’s pay offer is recognition of the valuable contribution its staff make which has led to an uplift in its financial performance over the last twelve months.”

Prospect National Trust

Rodney Bickerstaffe Memorial

Wednesday 12 April 1pm

Central Hall, Westminster

Rodney Bickerstaffe - former General Secretary of both UNISON and NUPE –was a dedicated champion of all the union members he proudly represented throughout his career, and a friend of all of those who faced injustice at home and around the world. He coupled a great sense of humour and love of laughter with a deep-rooted sense of social justice and commitment to UNISON.

Anyone who was touched by his work is invited to join a memorial service. Register one place each here

Sir Brian Bailey

Brain Bailey has died at the age of 94 in Taunton. He was the Regional Secretary for the National Association of Local Government Officers and was the South West TUC Regional Secretary for 13 years before the post became a full-time position. He was chair of Television South West when it won the ITV regional franchise in 1980, a position and a Director of Channel Four Television.

Sir Brian was Chairman of the South Western Regional Health Authority for seven years and served on the government’s Health Education Council.

Read more here



Women in Leadership

An exciting programme to develop women reps and activities. The year-long course will include visits to the UK and EU Parliaments.

For more information contact [email protected]


Workers’ Memorial Day

Saturday 28 April

Workers’ Memorial Day Poole

Saturday 28 April, 11am, Poole Park, War Memorial to lay wreath.

Beside the lake near gated entrance

Poole Park, Parkstone Road, Poole BH15 2PD

Organised by the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Trades Union Council, the event will last 30 minutes maximum. Please bring banners/flags etc.

Organising an event for Workers Memorial Day? Let us know [email protected]

South West TUC Annual Conference

20-21 April

Croyde Bay

The annual gathering of trade union delegates.

For more information contact [email protected]

Trades Councils Annual Conference

Saturday 19 May 10.30am-3.30pm

Railway Club, Bridgwater TA6 5HA

The annual meeting of South West Trades Union Council delegates was moved due to heavy snow. It will hear individual case studies about their journey to trade union activism, reports on TUC priorities and current campaigns.

For more information: [email protected]

Shire Hall is coming

The Dorchester Shire Hall and historic courtroom in which the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried and sentenced to transportation for forming a union will soon open to the public as a major new visitor attraction.

International Brigade Conference to come to Bristol

Saturday 24 March

Colston Hall, Bristol

The annual International Brigade Memorial Trust, Len Crome Memorial Conference will hear from historians Professor Tom Buchanan and Dr Emily Mason. There will also be live music from Amanda Boyd & David Nash, Ewan McLennan and the Red Notes Choir, plus film, exhibition and stalls.
Entrance: £20 (£15 students).

More information here Booking here

New Deal for Working People demonstration

Saturday 12 May


The TUC needs people to steward for most of the day to help make the event a safe and friendly environment.  Training will be provided via an enote online briefing and more experienced colleagues will be asked to take on a senior stewarding role.

register here


Festival Programme out soon

20-22 July

The programme for this year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival will be out soone and weekend tickets go on sale from 1 April. Billy Bragg, Misty in Roots, Captain Ska and Steve Knightley are amongst the confirmed acts. The Radical History School has a full list of sessions around the TUC’s 150th anniversary and the menu of debates is filling up well.