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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Employment rights and protection in the UK (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Employment rights and protection in the UK
Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-13-2003 03:27 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was recently dismissed from my position as Chief Projectionist for asserting my statutary rights and persuing a grievence with my employers. Whilst I'm not in a position to say too much right now I pledged that I would make sure others would be able to see how I have been treated. The matter is still in the hands of my solicitors and union.

I have put together a web site where all of the letters concerned are available to read or download.

For now drop me an email and I'll be happy to supply the web site address. In a couple of weeks I hope to be able to openly publish the address.

[ 07-13-2003, 04:59 PM: Message edited by: Ken McFall ]

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Michael Harlow
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 170
From: Faversham, Kent, UK
Registered: Jul 2002


 - posted 07-13-2003 04:33 PM      Profile for Michael Harlow   Email Michael Harlow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Whoops! sounds like your ex employer has made a big boo boo.

Everyone is entitled to employment rights and equal opportunity rights. I think you have a good case, but is your solicitor better than their's?

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-13-2003 04:51 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let's just say that I have nothing to hide... in fact I have a lot to be proud of.

That's why I'm making the whole thing available so it's down to pride and the truth. I am a firm beliver that people should not be treated like [bs]

This forum is for like minded people who are professional so have an interest in how we as an industry are treated so where better to make a start.

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5246
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-13-2003 08:21 PM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, Ken, that's terrible. I'm sorry to hear this. We have similar occurences here, and unfortunately, it often it comes down to their word against yours. Management has recently had the luxury of being able to set pretty much any policy they desire - legal or not, they don't seem to care. I'm in a situation myself where my civil rights may have been violated at a job interview. An investigation is currently underway, but I'm not really expecting anything to come of it.

Good luck with yours.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-13-2003 11:27 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tim

I agree that it often does come down to one story or the other, however in this instance there is no dispuite about my work, in fact no dispute about anything I've done at all.

When you read the letters I hope you will agree what the intention was all along. Hope you get your problems sorted out soon.

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Gerard S. Cohen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 975
From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 07-15-2003 01:10 PM      Profile for Gerard S. Cohen   Email Gerard S. Cohen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ken,
Thanks for the web address. You've done a fine job of documenting your case on an attractive site.

Let me preface my reactions with a case of my own. When my local's union contract was up for renewal, United Artists refused to renew it. The membership vetoed a hefty assessment to build a strike fund, so the union brought in the local and International presidents who urged us to accept a compromise in which 15 jobs (mine included) at smaller theatres would be given to UA to be run by non-union manager/operators in return for renewal. At the meeting those present voted 123 to 38 to agree. (I didn't count the votes.) I couldn't protest, since the union leaders and membership agreed, and there not being jobs available afterwards, I retired with a pension after having worked the local for 26 years.

Reading your case, I ask, Why is the management doing this to you?
First thought: they are trying to cut costs, by booting out the union and the need to pay a living wage for professional work. Since you are not only technically experienced but capable of training and supervising, you threaten the egos and status of managers who are incapable of doing these tasks. But they are unscrupulous in demanding that you train technical staff, manage them into a disciplined unit, and then accept being fired as unnecessary to the operation, which they hope to run with low-wage inexperienced labor, below living wages. This form of non-union operation has become the norm in many chains in the US, staffed by part-time teenagers, without living wages.

You seem to have been putting in very long hours of overtime work to upgrade the personnel and hardware operation of this theatre, and have probably earned more than the managers. They must hate you for this!

Another possible reason may lie with your health. Having suffered a heart attack, you are at risk, especially with your long hours, little rest, and the emotional stress of the management's machinations. They may be afraid you might suffer another attack while at work (though through their behavior itseems they may be driving you to the brink.) Oh, then they'd look bad, and have lots of paperwork to do!

But I have not found any expression of the management's justification for their actions towards you on your site. Your grievance should force an explanation.

I certainly hope you win this case, with the help of your solicitor and your union. Perhaps media coverage might provide some moral support to shame the shameless management? But what would "winning" entail? Continuation of employment with the same ungrateful management? New management? Payment of damages? A job in another theatre?

All the Best,
Gerard

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-15-2003 05:19 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Gerard,

we did chat via email earlier but here's a more detailed reply.

OK the reason I'm not posting the site address publicly is so I cannot be accused of bad mouthing my ex employer publicly.

I'm a member of Film-Tech and consider you all to be collegues. So 'IF' I'm asked I'll explain what happened to me... by allowing you to see all of the letters concerned. The letters posted are unaltered in any way so you can draw your own conclusion.

As the injured party I feel I am entitled to state my case.

These things take time to sort out and in the mean time I have to justify why I've been sacked. I also have to cover payments on a small loan which I had insured. But as I've been 'sacked' the insurence does not cover it!

So what am I hoping to get from all of this....

I want to, need to work. So if I am re instated then I'm happy to do so. If not I at least need it to be recognised that what happened was unfair. It's a personal pride thing that money cannot buy.

To be used and cast aside is in my opinion possibly the worst thing that can happen to anyone. To have to continue paying a price for that is un acceptable. The law needs to be changed to protect people from this sort of thing so that employers do not get away with it. They need to be Named & Shamed!

I've had quite a few visits to the site so far and the support if gratifying. I hope none of you ever experience this.

To anyone who works for my ex employers... JOIN BECTU NOW!!! you need them.

I'm happy to bare all as I have NOTHING to hide. So if you are interested email me and I'll provide you with the link.

Thanks to those who have already responded.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7474
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-16-2003 03:33 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As someone who used to work for the same company as Ken all I can say is that it's very sad that this matter has got as nasty as it clearly has. My experience is that they weren't the perfect employers - but they were by no means the worst I've ever worked for.

In the five years I worked for them (three years part-time, two years full) I had the occasional minor disagreement (as does every employee with every employer at some point) and one serious one with my immediate line manager. As far as I'm concerned this was resolved very sensibly and pragmatically by head office intervention and we continued working together without any problems until the manager moved sites a couple of months later. I was a member of BECTU at the time, but in the event didn't need their help.

Given that I still know quite a few people from that company socially I hope Ken will understand my not wanting to say anything in public about this, other than to hope that the issue can be resolved as untraumatically as circumstances allow and that everyone can then move on.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-16-2003 04:01 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Lei,

I understand what you are saying and agree with you. It is a shame that it came to this. I clearly state that in my letters. However, if you ever do read the letters you may understand why it is going this way.... only time will tell.

Regards.

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Bernard Tonks
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 619
From: Cranleigh, Surrey, England
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-17-2003 09:05 AM      Profile for Bernard Tonks   Email Bernard Tonks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just seen your unfortunate thread on returning to the site, sorry to hear this and what I read in Gerald’s posting.

I know how you must feel, as I was involved in a dispute many years ago when I refused to do Saturday 11pm late night shows for a flat rate of 30 shillings in the old money. Following a blazing row with the GM, I was paid the NATKE union rate of nearly £4. I was in my rights, and I wasn’t being unreasonable as I found out the film hire was at a flat rate of £7, which always did good business. Fortunately for me I was able to continue a happy working relationship with that company which I was grateful for and respected.

I was to experience another dispute this time in television when NATKE (later BECTU) were on strike for 3 months, which was like hell without a future. Hope all goes well for you Ken.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-17-2003 10:46 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for that Bernard,

Thanks also for signing the guest book....

The most unpleasant aspect of this whole affair is carrying the label 'Dismissed'. No matter what you do or say you have been 'Dismissed' and employers don't like that. Especially if you say you are taking or have taken your ex employer to a tribunal! And God forbid that you should win.

The law in this country is a disgrace in that it allows employers to behave in this manner and ignor the basic rights of an individual.

All I can do for now is pass on the story to those that ask to read about.

Regards.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9532
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-17-2003 07:44 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well in Socialist Ontario our Iatse local has been often sucessfull in getting people reinstated on their jobs and by court order there employment record purged and a proviso of stiff fines should anyone including ex employees choose to discuss the matter in other terms. In each case the dismissal was for very bogus reasons and if at best should have begat a reprimand or a verbal warning
Ken I don't have a link to your site so please email me it
and I wish you all the success

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-18-2003 10:41 AM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I personally don't see why any employer having abused an employee should be allowed to make confidentiality a condition of a settlement...

After all they will continue to support their position right up until the moment a judgement is made against them. Then suddenly you're not allowed to talk about it.
But I do understand the need to bring these things to an end and to get what compensation you can. Life goes on as they say.

The main thing is that the employer will think twice before playing with another employee's life.... and the moon is made of cheese and a man with a big smile lives there!

Gordon,

thanks for reading the site and your comments via email. As suggested I've added to the site and included my Offer of Employment and two extracts from my Contract that are relevant to the issue.

Thanks again for your interest.

Regards.

[ 07-18-2003, 12:18 PM: Message edited by: Ken McFall ]

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Ben Wales
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 602
From: Southampton. England
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-18-2003 03:09 PM      Profile for Ben Wales   Email Ben Wales   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry to hear Ken that you had lost your last position, I know that this cinema has some serious issues with mangement, as I knew the previous Chief Projectionist who walked out on this job and I did apply for this position some time ago and did get an impression that problems exist with the cinema mangement and as it has shown for the past few years the high turn over of CP's at this cinema!.

Good luck in a future position.

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-18-2003 04:55 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Ben,

Chatting to Gordon earlier your name came up so I was going to contact you.

Yes there is a serious problem with the manager at The Ritzy... unfortunatly they made the right noises and I fell for it. The projection department was in a mess.... plain and simple.

Moving there was the biggest mistake of my life... hind sight being 20/20. I'm hoping to make recent events the biggest mistake they have made in return.

I'll send you the address of my site so you can see what's been going on. Keep in touch and we can pass on stories..

Regards.

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