Faurecia must stop ‘terrifying’ workers and register them on guaranteed wages scheme

Faurecia Interiors is ‘terrifying’ laid-off workers by refusing to inform them whether they will be registered under the government’s scheme to pay workers 80 per cent of their wages, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 26 March).

The automotive supply chain firm, which employs around 400 people at two sites at Fradley in the West Midlands as well as at other locations across the UK, has sent a ‘heartless’ letter to staff laying them off until April 20 that makes no mention of the government’s furlough scheme.

Unite, which represents a substantial amount of the workforce at Faurecia, has obtained a copy of the letter that tells staff that during the lockdown they can either take unpaid leave, any remaining annual holiday or be paid in advance using banked hours.

Nowhere in the letter does it mention that the company will be registering laid off staff with the government so that 80 per cent of their wages can be claimed while the spread of coronavirus is stopped.

The union said that Faurecia workers are now deeply worried that they will be left in debt and struggling to cope. Without the government support many will be forced to use the banked hours scheme, which stipulates that wage advances will be deducted from future pay slips or paid back as a lump sum, or face struggling without money during the lockdown itself.

Unite regional officer Melvyn Palmer said: “The letter sent to Faurecia’s staff about their choices during the coronavirus layoff is heartless. It makes no mention of whether the firm will be registering its staff under the government’s scheme to pay 80 per cent of wages. 

“Many staff are terrified that their only choice will be to struggle through the lockdown without money coming in or to rely on banked hours that will leave them in debt once work resumes. 

“Other companies across the automotive sector are making clear that their staff will be registered under the government furlough scheme and working with Unite to ensure that message is heard loud and clear.

“Faurecia, however, have completely disregarded their workforce’s concerns and are refusing to answer Unite’s repeated enquires on the issue. This is no way to treat people during a national emergency. Faurecia must register their workers under the furlough scheme as soon as possible and make it immediately clear to their workforce that they are doing so.” 

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