The GMB Union have today released a statement revealing that an employer located in the Prime Minister’s own constituency is refusing to follow Government advice and furlough its staff, which it says ‘beggars belief’.
GMB, the union for workers in food manufacturing has been told that workers at Impress Sandwiches in West Drayton have been laid off rather than furloughed.
The workers, who are all low paid and employed on zero hours’ contracts, have been paid only £150 by the company in the last 8 weeks since the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in. Many of them are now living from hand to mouth and having to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families.
Many of the 100 staff have worked at the family run business for years on zero hours’ contracts. As the company has refused to furlough, this has meant only those who work get paid. The managing director Fiona Buss argues that if the company furlough some staff this will create problems with others as they will not want to work. The GMB proposed that staff should be furloughed on a rotational basis and offered to work with the company to make sure a service to customers was maintained.
A GMB member who works at Impress Sandwiches said:
“I’ve been a loyal member of staff for years and this is how they treat me? I used to earn around £1500 a month, I am the sole income provider for my family as my husband is a carer for his elderly mother. I am just desperate, I don’t know what to do. I cannot live on £150. This company does not care about us or our families.”
Helen Purcell, Regional Organiser said:
“It beggars belief that an employer located in the Prime Minister’s own constituency is refusing to follow Government advice and furlough its staff. I have attempted to negotiate with the managing director, Fiona Buss, but she simply says that she cannot find a fair way to furlough staff as she has to keep some staff working. I’ve never known such faulty logic in all my life; she would rather see staff go hungry than apply to the Government’s furlough scheme. She stopped answering my emails and calls when I refused to go along with her plans, pointing out to her that she must furlough staff before thinking about redundancy.”
The GMB has written to Boris Johnson at his constituency office asking him to take up the matter with the company. A response is awaited.