A war of words has erupted at the AA over claims that road patrol staff have been banned from taking holiday until 1 April 2007.
The AA has denied the ban and has accused the GMB union of waging a propaganda campaign against it. But the GMB is standing by its claim – and warned the road services company could have “employment tribunals coming out of its ears”.
The battle broke out when AA chief executive Tim Parker admitted to staff that the company had made too many redundancies since it was taken over in 2004.
GMB national organiser Paul Maloney said: “The number of patrols has been reduced from 3,500 to 2,087 and the AA is unable to cope with very hot or very cold weather conditions.
“We are representing dozens of our members who have put in official grievances because they were denied holiday.”
The AA conceded it had made too many cutbacks and had struggled to cope over the unusually hot summer, but insisted no-one had been denied annual leave. “Since staff set up their own union in 2005, the GMB has lost a lot of members and has been running a vitriolic campaign against us,” said an AA spokesman.
A majority stake in the AA was bought by venture capitalists CVC and Permira for £1.75bn in autumn 2004. About 3,000 redundancies have been made since then.