The Giant agency has been accused of ‘bad faith’ after appearing to renege on a promise to furlough about 300 workers working on Rolls-Royce contracts in Derby and Washington in the north east – which means they have not been paid for a month.
Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that Giant had promised on 17 April that the workers would be furloughed under the government job retention scheme (JRS) which means that they would receive at least 80 per cent of their pay.
But Unite said its members had not received a penny in the last month which had left them in dire financial straits and that confusion reigns with mixed messages from the company over the progress or not of the JRS application.
The union estimates that about 270 workers were on the Derby contract and 27 at Washington.
Unite regional coordinator Suzanne Reid, who represents members on assignments at Rolls Royce Washington, said: “Giant agency workers have been left in the worst possible predicament – they have not received any wages for well over a month which is causing financial hardship for their families and impacting on their mental health.
“We have had mixed messages from the company over whether the JRS application is being progressed or not. It appears that they could be reneging on what was agreed in mid-April.”
Unite officer with responsibility for Rolls-Royce in Derby Tony Tinley said: “Both ethically and morally, Giant should be accessing all monies available to ensure employees receive pay. We urge Giant to do the right thing – otherwise, it is guilty of bad faith, as the agency promised in April that the workers would be furloughed, after work finished for them at the end of March.”
Washington & Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that Giant have failed to ensure their employees receive the financial support they are entitled to. As our country faces the biggest challenge in peacetime, it is unforgiveable that companies are placing their workers in such financial difficulty.
“Alongside Unite, I have been contacting Giant on behalf of several constituents of mine for weeks, asking them to do the right thing and providing them with clear guidance from the government. This delay and obfuscation cannot continue.’’