I hope Wilko sees common sense over staff hours

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

The news that Wilko staff have voted to take strike action is disappointing and very sad, writes John Mann MP.

The decision to impose every weekend working on staff has backfired badly.

Everyone is entitled to a decent family life and the insecurity of some work contracts are dangerous to health and wellbeing when they negatively impact on work/life balance.

It is my opinion that zero-hour contracts, repeat weekend working and loss of bank holidays all hurt children as much as adults.

Family time is important to us all and I have previously proposed in Parliament to have time off on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day fixed in law.

I have also consistently opposed zero-hour contracts ever since they were brought into the UK.

Wilko has long had a good reputation, but I feel it is damaging this with its intransigence on weekend working.

There was a time when it invited me in regularly and was a leading player in the local community.

But it is several years since it did either.

I call upon Wilko to rebuild its good name by reaching agreement with the workforce and the GMB Union.

READ MORE: Union bill for seriously ill workers has my full support.

Laing O’Rourke has a very different outlook.

It has big expansion plans and is getting into the house-building sector, using modern methods of construction which will mean more local jobs.

It wants to work with the local college and schools so that young people see it as an attractive and positive place for a career.

And I am also pleased to see that it has displayed a strong commitment to the community it is based in.

It has built the new changing room facility on the Rockware site so that boys and girls can change safely and I have worked closely with them on this over the past few months.

Elsewhere, the new site on Manton Wood is currently being built at speed and Spanish coach company Irizar is moving to a new site at Blyth.

Wilko needs to remember that the competition for labour is higher now than it has been for some years.

I hope it sees common sense.