From Mr John Hannett
Sir, — USDAW is the union that represents shop workers, and currently has members who work in SPCK bookshops. Your readers may be interested to know, with regard to the ongoing difficulties at the bookshop, that this dispute is not resolved, and we expect new, drastically reduced and probably illegal contracts to be imposed on staff in the very near future.
The main changes are: an increase in the length of the working week from 37.5 hours per week to 40, with no increase in pay; all part-time staff will become casual staff with no guaranteed hours every week; and staff will have no sick pay, where the current contract provides for eight weeks’ full pay followed by eight weeks’ half pay.
Conversations with our members indicate that most staff will refuse to sign this new contract, and their employer has indicated that failure to agree to the new contract will lead to dismissal. This is a very worrying prospect for long-serving and dedicated employees. This dispute is causing a great deal of anxiety among the staff, and, as a union, we are very concerned that many of them will lose their jobs or be forced into jobs that offer fewer rights.
USDAW is willing to assist in trying to reach a negotiated settlement if St Stephen the Great were prepared to meet us.
Many of your readers will be regular users of SPCK bookshops, and the staff in those stores would welcome their support as they struggle to protect their employment rights.
USDAW: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
188 Wilmslow Road
Manchester M14 6LJ