On a frosty Sunday January morning this year I was cycling to work and skidded on a patch of frost. I came off my bike and injured my shoulder. I phoned work immediately to tell them I wouldn’t make it to work.
The company I work for do pay limited sick pay after a years service and I was eligible for this. Imagine then my surprise to get my pay slip and find and entry logged as ‘Unauthorised abscence…-£53.99’.
I raised this with my boss. ‘Yeah but you only gave us 10 minutes notice he said you have to give us 2 hours if you’re going to report sick’.
‘Fuck that’ was the first thought that went through my mind but I knew that would be counter productive so I pointed out to my boss that my sick record was better than average and that I could hardly expect to give 2 hours notice when I was sprawled all over the road with a shoulder injury 15 minutes before being due at work.
He conceded the point. ‘It’ll be in your next pay cycle’ he informed me. Ok fair enough. February pay cycle came and went, March Came and went, April too. Nothing.
Late in April I upped the anti and told my boss I wasn’t happy with this prevarication and indolence in quite forceful terms.
The reply went something like this “I’ve got a lot to do running this store I can’t think of everything”. My reply? “Thats not my problem thats what you get your film star salary for. 53 quid might not be a lot to you but its a lot to me. This is now a union matter”.
Im dual carded being in both USDAW and the IWW and he knows it. He also knows that the IWW won’t shirk direct action. What he couldn’t have known is which of the two unions I would raise the issue with (I raised it with both).
USDAW’s response ‘Raise a grievance and put it in writing it’s part of the national agreement’. Fucking reformist beaurocrats.
Dorset wobs response? ‘Thats wages theft if you don’t get a result we’ll take direct action’
I have just picked up my paycheque and hey presto sick pay duly paid.
During the final confrontation we did have a bit of a shouting match and I didn’t back down. 10 minutes after this my boss apologised for shouting at me and said ‘That’s done’
Don’t take any shit from the boss. Stand up to them.
Direct action or even the faintest hint of it in this case worked. This was dealt with at a local level without the need for beaurocratic reformist bollocks.
Without what I have learn’t from being in the IWW I’m not at all sure that this would ever have been resolved or that I would get a result at all.
A Dorset Wobbly.