Unsettling labour issues need to be discussed openly, honestly

What I perceived, (ironically enough, being anti-bullying day), was bullying.

Recently I watched an awful scene in Cawston.  I was dropping the woman I love off at work at Cawston Cold Storage and it seems that because the night before some of the staff had a fact finding meeting with a representative from a union, they were met with what I felt were obscenities and threats.

Those “in” with the management blocked the doors where workers had to punch their time-cards.  It looked like something out of Alabama in the fifties – in my view, loud thugs who were taunting their own co-workers.

Many of the workers who attended that meeting had returned, year after year, to an exceptionally taxing job because they’d committed the worst of all sins – they needed the work. They weren’t acting out of vengeance, there was no middle finger pointed proudly in the air, they just wanted some respect and perhaps a fair shake. In all reality, they wanted to make the company more efficient and more productive. So far, they’d only asked questions.

It’s not as if their employers hadn’t profited from their efforts; I believe that is apparent, look at the soon to be completed storage facilities. Look at their life-styles – look at the trucks they drive.

What I perceived, (ironically enough, being anti-bullying day), was bullying. Sadly, as we see in playgrounds, bullying still exists as a perceived trump card everywhere for those without the tools to communicate in a civilized manner.

I’m not an employee there, I have no rights at all when it comes to what they do as a company, but I do have a right as a husband to stand behind my partner when I feel she’s being threatened and intimidated. I’d like to publicly call out the team that runs that plant – have open and honest meetings, stop hiding behind your power, and talk to the staff that generates your incomes.

It’s a long term solution and it doesn’t involve thuggery.  What I witnessed was dangerous –  it was a defensive, confused response to an unknown threat. It was shocking to see in what I thought to be the modern age.

Peter Kidder, Keremeos