Unite calls on the likely new contractor, Story Rail, to work with the union to end the disgrace of umbrella company rip-off contracts.
The Carillion collapse has exposed the disgraceful use of ‘umbrella’ contracts. Carillion used these umbrella companies to offer rip off contracts where workers were forced to sign up for paying their own holiday pay, their employer’s national insurance and pension payments.
Unite understands that the Carillion connection on the Waverley project comes to an end next Tuesday. A new provider Story Rail is expected to be on site by the end of the month.
Stevie Dillon, Unite regional officer said: “Story Rail has a chance to offer a new start. They should recognise Unite and negotiate a decent deal for the workers it’s going to employ. A new deal. Or will it be the same old, same old, use of arms length umbrella companies forcing sign up on rip-off contracts?”
Unite Scotland believes that so far the signs are not good. The union understands that on Tuesday 27 March the Carillion contract officially ends. All the workers that were retained on site will then be laid off and will have to re-apply for their jobs. It’s known that the likely new contractor Story Rail has previously used umbrella companies. So there’s a fear of a repeat of these practices.
Stevie Dillon said “What’s happening is a repeat - the workers at Carillion left in limbo. What is it to be? Standing in line waiting for the employer to give you a tap on the shoulder for your next day’s week’s or month’s work? What should happen is that the rights of these workers for a proper transfer to Story Rail should be recognised. And their transfer organised through the trade unions.”
In the Scottish parliament last week the first minister went on record as saying she opposed the exploitation that the use of umbrella companies represented. This is a Scottish government project funded by taxpayer’s money. A public contract funded by public money.
Stevie Dillon of Unite said: “Surely this is a great opportunity for the Scottish government to make its views known to all concerned and to lead the way for a new deal for the workers involved at Waverley. It’s time for a new deal. Together the Scottish government, the company and the unions can make that happen. Or are we to watch a new scandal emerging to replace an old one?”