Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thanet Earth–Insight into the Unite's campaign

I often get the impression that many readers don't understand or literally haven't a clue of what little protection if any, workers in some parts of business and private sector have, in fact I was surprised recently when a Labour councillor contacted me, concerning Unite's campaign highlighting working conditions and practices at Thanet Earth ( I didn't realise there was anyone left in Labour who cared about working people).

I was happy to forward contact details of Unite's organiser, whom I notice has sent me an email updating me on their campaign against Thanet Earth's working conditions, Unite's protest includes publicity stunts such as mob events in supermarkets and sending a man dressed as a tomato to M&S's shareholders meeting, reported by the Telegraph as it happened on the Telegraphs website with this gem

"16.02 Unite protesters shouting about employment conditions at a tomato glasshouse in Kent get their fifteen minutes of fame. A man dressed as giant tomato asks about working conditions.
Robert Swannell looks genuinely rattled when answering giant tomato man's question. Decades of wheeling and dealing in the City clearly didn't prepare him for arguing with people in massive fruit costumes in front of 2,000 pensioners. Tsk.

Looking at Thanet Earth, there do seem to be issues that need addressing beyond those alleged by Unite, which include hostility to union organisation, bullying, bribery, denial of pay & holiday pay. I myself would like to know why so few staff are local around the time of opening, I personally witnessed long cues to register for work, my experience was that many local people were happy to work there, despite the low pay, evidenced by the then boss of Thanet Earth who was quoted by KRN as saying this “We wrote to 350 people who expressed an interest in working for Thanet Earth and 217 are coming for interviews. also reporting "Recruitment consultant Marta Kozlowska could not believe her eyes when she turned up for work at the new Kent Staff office in Ramsgate to see an orderly queue outside the door. She said: “There was a queue of 30 to 40 people waiting for us to open. Over the two days we had about 110 applications for work, 95 per cent of which were English, at Thanet Earth.

Still there are two sides to any story and Thanet Earth are adamant that Unites accusations are, lets say unfounded. Of course in using agencies to provide staff clearly there is an area for confusion, Thanet Earth cannot answer for the agencies and so in the interest of balance, I rung one of those agencies and I have to say the person I spoke with seemed genuine enough in confirming that there was no foundation to claims that they didn't adhere to the law.

Anyway if you'd like to know more about Thanet Earth a new blog is available here also via the sidebar and of course if you'd like the facts from Thanet Earth click here hopefully you will be able to judge for yourself, and in the interest of fairness I suggest you take my views as being personal and as a result inevitably my own.
Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of this local issue, in my view the protection and rewards for agency workers in agriculture, and food processing industries are abysmal in comparison with those in other industries and sectors. If food producers are squeezed to a point where they cannot pay a living wage something is seriously wrong. Unite seem to be about the only people interested in workers getting a fair deal.


  1. Spot on post. I was one of those who were at Margate Job Centre it was a busy day I waited with loads of people, the majority were local British people of all ages. I never got a job offer and do not know of anyone who did. It would be interesting to know what % of the workforce is from long standing indigenous Thanet residents. I would also like to know the hourly rate of pay and the contracted hours?

  2. I understand the rate is £5.93 per hour min wage, the main problem of course is there are no regular hours, being agency you get one day at a time.

    No doubt some armchair wage slave will comment on how Thanet Earth have created jobs, which clearly they have the problem is with no guaranteed contract and poor hourly rate, employees no doubt need wages topping up through benefits.

    Of course Thanet Earth's business is seasonal but surely they could employ some people on a fixed contract and also pay above the minimum wage to compensate for the precarious nature of work

  3. Think of the business plan, invest millions in plant and equipment, fat tax breaks for the power station (Combined Heat & Power),pay peanuts for staff. Kerching!

    Multi-million investment, poverty pay?

    Thanks for the heads up.

  4. The whole situation needs a full investigation. Not just Thanet Earth but all employers that now seem to rely on Zero Hour/Casual contracts. No wonder this week the announcement that unemployment was down but those claiming Job Seekers had gone up. You have to sign on if your only working 8 hours a week. I'm a casual employee, I want to work more hours but I'm on call 24/7 some weeks the pay is good, others nothing, my life is lived from day to day, I can't plan anything. Any suggestions?

  5. Showing your red side Tony? Maybe we should fly the state flag here in Thanet come the revolution Tony all the employers can be put up againt the wall and shot.

  6. Don I don't think you have a clue, bask in your ignorance and wallow in your rightwing views.

    If you feel comfortable with poverty pay, and then paying taxes to subsidise bad employers maybe your reading the wrong blog.

    As for the suggest that I'm some sort of socialist is complete bollix

    What you need Don is flipping time machine to take you back to the dark ages.

  7. Tony, Unite are almost as left wing as the GMB... About time they got real and worked instead of talking about work!!!

  8. I don't agree with unions involving themselves in the front line politically but getting a good deal for workers is what there for.

    Nobody criticises salesman for getting the best deal.

    I am and always will be a liberal, nothing wrong with standing your corner whether your a business man or labourer.

  9. Tony I have worked for myself most of my working life very rarely having to doff my cap to my employer. If they are so hard done by they have the alternative go and get another job. When they saw it advertised it was minimum wage now people are complaining its minimum wage HUH? ARE YOU MAD TONY they are lucky to be working you yourself travel miles to work. Try looking at it from an employers side for once rather than your socialistic eyes you are using at the moment.

  10. Having a social conscience does not make one a socialist Don. In the same way your acceptance of poor pay does not mean your a fascist Don

  11. Its the "Don's" of the world that really annoy me. I'm all right jack, everyone else a poncing dole scrounger. Don you may have misunderstood the entire artical the Min wage was not an issue it was the ZERO HOURS CONTRACT. I would work for minimum wage and actually do but the casual hours I work do not allow me to plan for anything, believe me living at home with your mother when your 49 is not much fun. Get another job you say....get real.

  12. 11.00 I used to employ people I even remortgaged my home to keep them on when work was tight. When the boot was on the other foot they wouldnt piss on me if I was on fire. I have been on both sides traveled the country for work often below what is now minimum wage. There is nowt wrong with contract jobs, you all want security for what was years gone by womens work.

  13. No such thing as job security any more, no such thing as a "job for life" either. Having been part of a process interviewing job seekers for a relatives firm I can honestly say that even though we wanted to provide work for "long standing indigenous" British it proved virtually impossible. Of the 20 jobs going we had almost 150 applicants of which it was roughly 50/50 split between British and Eastern European migrants. After a month 10 out of 15 British had walked, the 5 migrants had worked solidly and eventually migrants filled the other 10 jobs.

    It was a secure job, with decent shifts, overtime, TOIL, minibus shuttle service, uniforms, free lunch and two 15 minute breaks.

    Ultimately not good enough for British it seemed, most of the Brits ended back on the dole. Six months on and the only migrants who have left had returned to their native country, Brits are still interviewed but most offered jobs quit within a month.

  14. What job is this Rob? I might be interested.

  15. I can't believe all these apologists for the tyrannical corporate scumbags that screw with our lives.

    People, believe me, there is no need for any of us to have to struggle. If we are given our heads we can achieve GREAT things. These greedy, banking parasites have done nothing but hold us back and rob the world blind.

    Tony, you mentioned "dark ages", well you hit the nail on the head, because unless we pull our finger out, that is exactly where we are going.

    The way I see it, pushing the price of food down serves several purposes.

    Firstly it serves to increase disposable income, which in many cases results in more interest payments to the banks (mortgages, credit cards etc), or more to spend on corporate Chinese crap.

    Secondly, our loving government, the United Nations, wants organic food off of our menu, and organic farmers driven out of business by unfair competition and regulations. Monopolistic big shots like the Rockefellers want total control of what we eat, and genetically modified horror food grown on rockwool will ensure that we don't thrive too well, draw too much pension, have too many kids or pose a threat to their positions of power due to cerebral degeneration.

    Thirdly, it means juicy corporate profits for the vertically integrated supermarkets.

    Fourthly, it helps to disguise the rampant inflation as our living standards are lowered to third world levels while the crooks print trillions to buy up the planet for pennies on the pound.

    I could go on, but you've probably stopped reading by now, but you get the idea.

  16. The price of food has increased year on year for as long as I can remember.

  17. Then you are probably not very old Rob, because it took a massive tumble when Thatcher was in office, unfortunately so did the quality and nutritional value, and consequently the nations health.

    That is one of the reasons why many people cannot seem to grasp the enormity of the dire situation that we are in, because their brains have been starved of the proper nutrition.

    It is all clever stuff, you see, and all worked out by those "clever" think-tanks when your great grandparents were knee high to a grasshopper.

  18. 11.07,People, believe me, there is no need for any of us to have to struggle. If we are given our heads we can achieve GREAT things. These greedy, banking parasites have done nothing but hold us back and rob the world blind. great words why do more people not go for it? You seem to condemn Banks and big bussiness. Why without access to funds anyone trying to as you say given our heads which I assume you mean ambitions for advancement would find the advancement difficult.????? I too could go on but I doubt you are interested .

  19. I'm almost 40.

    Did you know they faked the moon landings?

  20. But Don, banks, big business, the oil companies, the media and the government are all owned or controlled by the same few interests, it's called corporate fascism.

    The little guy doesn't stand a chance anymore, the free market is dead, they've stolen the lot right from under our noses, got everyone brainwashed and now they are going to squeeze us dry.

    Please try to forgo the television for an evening or two Don, it's all bloody crap anyway, and give this book a read... it may give you a idea as to what is going on.

    Rob, grow up son.

  21. Jesus H Christ... you start throwing out links to books by Dr (really?) John Coleman, the favourite person to quote by the likes of David "Son of God" Icke and Jim "It's all one big conspiracy" Marrs and you tell me to grow up !!

    I'd been joshing about the tinfoil hat shit but now I realise I was bang on! You are a nutter!

  22. Do you really want your kids being "taught" by this sort of idiot^^^

    He is either a freemason or common purpose graduate, but whatever he is, he should not be teaching kids.

  23. ANON do you believe in fairies and that the moon is made of cheese?

  24. Says the man who believes the ramblings of a "doctor" who says he once worked for MI6 but has never to this date been able to provide proof of either. A "doctor" who gets debunked not only by non believers but also by fellow conspiracy theorists... lmao!

    Thankfully you are your like are out there on the fringe where the
    rest of humanity can safely ignore the drivel that you spout.

    Although you like being out on the fringe because it just reinforces your belief.


  25. A good day's hard graft on minimum wage is what you lot need!

  26. And that includes you Don. If you can work a computer keyboard then you can work a till at a check-out in Tesco.

  27. @ Anon 1:25pm - been there done that and raised a family on the income, then I went back to get an education where I continued to work minimum wage whilst studying so that I didn't have any debts.

    I'm your poor boy turned good, could have ended up on a council estate with a girl pumping out sprogs as a source of income but I decided that I would do better and educate the sprogs of others to show them that there is a way out of the cycle.

    So although you think you're being clever with your snide comments they wash off me like water off a ducks back.


  28. I don't mind doing hard graft at minimum wage if someone gives me a job! : (

  29. No Don, I only believe in things that can be proven or backed up by solid research.

    Take the pish if you must, I am only trying to warn people. The difference between the ignorant and the fool, is that the ignorant can take steps to check things out, but the fool remains a fool.

    mentally ill Rob said:

    "I'm your poor boy turned good"

    Oh no! Another own-trumpet blowing, control freak, it fits the profile, you're not related to 'Doc' Moores are you?

  30. I only believe in things that can be proven or backed up by solid research.

    When taken with your other comments that statement alone is simply hilarious. David Icke, Jim Marrs, "Dr" John Coleman and the other loons like Alex Jones can't prove anything, that's why they are out there on the fringe of society concocting conspiracy theories... or is it because in this day of instant communication via the web 11 foot lizards, committees of 300 and Rothschilds are able to instantly purge such communications, reports, facts, credible research from the media, web, email, text, phone, paper etc systems at the click of a button?

    You call me mentally ill... you are beyond help, send me your address and I'll set you up with a lifetime supply of tinfoil as you must get through tonnes of the stuff.

  31. ANON 03:55:00 I wish I could I really do. Would you swop your body with mine then if I could walk, stand, stop the tremours and shakes, I would be working in a flash. It would be lovely to be free from this disease. Swop ya.

  32. WTF is all this garbage about moon landings and lizards, you immature fool? I'm talking about cheap tainted food, corruption and criminal bankers.

    Rob, did it occur to you that the information that you crammed into your head at college, may be flawed in some way?

    It's a fact that those with a "higher education" within our society are also among the dimmest, due to the fact that they are adept at learning parrot-fashion but unable to think for themselves. These types cannot seem to grasp that what they were taught was not wisdom, but rather pavlovian dog training to enable them 'function' within a dysfunctional corporate system, that is eventually doomed to fail.

    Or perhaps... you were slogging away at minimum wage and thinking "there must be a better way", when you happened upon the establishment's plans for a New World Order and made the decision to join the dark side and became a common purpose trained public school teacher (and a mason?).

    If it was the latter Rob, I am afraid that you've backed the wrong horse. I hope you realise that treason is a very serious offence in England.

  33. lmao... treason is a very serious offence in England, some implied threat that I'll be up against the wall when you lead the next English revolution? Get real.

    Yes you've busted me, fully paid up member of the Masons, Committee of 300, Bilderberg group, often to be seen dressed as an owl at Skull & Bones events... not to mention my stint last year as a donations collecter at numerous Priory of Sion and Opus Dei meets.

    I'd hand myself in to the Police at Margate but seeing as I drink with them every Wednesday up the Lodge seems pretty pointless.

  34. Arrogance as well... yep you're definitely one of them.

  35. Rather one of them whoever they are than a fringe lunatic, then again they say it takes all sorts to fill the world, at least you lot give the rest of us a chuckle...

  36. ... and yes I'm laughing at you in my best arrogant laugh!

  37. I suspect it is more of a nervous, demented cackle... rofl.