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17.07.2020 / News / Press releases /

Manager at luxury food retailer Premier Fruits caught on tape in “union busting rant” and unlawfully sacking a worker over PPE whistleblowing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17/07/2020

Manager at luxury food retailer Premier Fruits caught on tape in “union busting rant” and unlawfully sacking a worker over PPE whistleblowing

  • A United Voices of the World member has been unlawfully dismissed for trade union activities and blowing the whistle on lack of people and breach of social distancing in the warehouse of luxury food retailer Premier Fruits.
  • Jason Tanner, Chairman of Premier Fruits, has been recorded in “a union busting rant” designed to intimidate workers from joining the union and accepting wage cuts. 
  • United Voices of the World are now filling a claim for interim relief at the Employment Tribunal.

Covent Garden based luxury food retailer Premier Fruits has unlawfully dismissed a worker for blowing the whistle on health and safety breaches and lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the company’s warehouse according to trade union, United Voices of the World.

The union, who has filed a claim of interim relief on behalf of the employee, claims the worker has also been victimised for lawful trade union activities and that they have recordings of Premier Fruit Chairman, Jason Tanner, going on “union busting rants designed to intimidate workers”.

The union claims the company tried to unlawfully impose a reduction in pay and working hours without the prior consultation of its workforce and that when the employee contacted the union, who then made representations on their behalf including complaints about the lack of PPE, management responded by calling a meeting from which they barred the employee and in which Mr Tanner was recorded as saying:

‘One particular person in the firm has decided to go to a union…This one person isn’t obviously backing the company…We’ve got enough things on our plate without that person now side-tracking me having to deal with that situation…I am extremely disappointed and upset over this one person. Because not only has he given me a problem, but he’s given everyone else in this company a problem as well…One of the things he bought up was obviously the 2-meter distancing which [background laughter] and wearing masks…you can all probably guess which person it is because he’s obviously not stood in the office at this moment in time’.

In the rest of the recordings Mr Tanner can be heard admitting to having attempted to wage reductions and reductions in working hours without prior consultation or consent from his employees. He can also be heard requesting that the sign documentation consenting to the cuts in wages and working hours.

Cormac Devlin, a UVW Employment Tribunal Caseworker said the following:

“Throughout the pandemic, employers have shown a total disregard for the health of their workers. Recently, Premier Fruits Limited dismissed a UVW member who had the courage to call out the company’s failure to provide adequate PPE. UVW has obtained audio recordings of a company boss spouting a union busting rant designed to intimidate workers, stating that union efforts to ensure safe working conditions for their members could ‘ruin this country’. Today, we have submitted an urgent application for interim relief on behalf of our courageous member which, if successful, will ensure Premier Fruits is forced to continue to pay his wages until the tribunal can make a final ruling on the company’s unlawful decision to dismiss him”.

###

Editors notes

For more information, quotes, and access to audio recordings please contact:

Kane Shaw, kane@uvwunion.org.uk tel. 07950 927798

Petros Elia, petros@uvwunion.org.uk tel. 07884 553443

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