Union breakthrough at JD Sports in Rochdale

The trade union Usdaw has won a major victory in the campaign for fair treatment of workers at JD Sports’ Kingsway distribution centre in Rochdale.

Back in July, over 600 JD Sports workers submitted a grievance about the company slashing rest breaks for workers on gruelling 12-hour night shifts. After several meetings and regular union protests outside the site, the company yesterday accepted the case made by Usdaw and agreed to consult with their workers again, with a view to re-instating the breaks.

Tony Lloyd, MP for Rochdale, said: “I welcome that the management have listened to their staff and Usdaw with a view to re-instating the breaks.

“As the biggest private sector employer in Rochdale, JD Sports will want to show a duty of care to its employees. I am pleased to see that workers at the distribution centre are joining Usdaw to make sure their voices are heard, and to make sure their rights at work are protected.”

Usdaw Divisional Officer Mike Aylward said: “We are pleased that the management have listened to their staff, although they are still trying to deny the serious health and safety implications of getting rid of the breaks. It is the right decision to back away from forcing staff to work from 6pm to 6am with just two breaks. People were in genuine fear for their safety in conditions that would have resulted in crushing fatigue.

“Workers at JD Sports distribution are joining Usdaw for an independent voice and to say enough is enough. Now that we have won this battle, the campaign continues to improve all terms and conditions of employment at the site. JD is a highly successful, international, multi-billion pound business and by far Rochdale’s biggest private sector employer, with over 4000 staff. They should not be trying to get away the bare-minimum employment standards. And Usdaw intends to make sure they don’t.”