Two London organisations are flouting government policy over coronavirus by attacking the pay, and terms and conditions of their employees, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Friday 27 March).

Unite is pinpointing the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), which runs 33 nurseries across London; and Gateway, a cleaning company, a spin-off operation of GS Plus (Greenwich Service Plus), which, in turn, was set up by Greenwich council.

Unite said that neither organisation had waited to see how they would benefit from the government’s comprehensive package to keep workers in employment.

Unite said that LEYF, which caters for the children of key workers, had demanded that its nursery staff accept reduced hours each week and cuts to holiday entitlement and sick pay to the statutory minimum by 1 April - or face the sack.

Unite said that about 100 agency workers at Gateway, including passenger transport staff who take children of key workers to school, had been told by text that there was no more work for them – some of whom had been working regular hours for a number of years. The union is demanding their immediate reinstatement.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Both these organisations have behaved appallingly to their workforces at a time of national emergency when we should all be pulling together. We are calling on both managements to rescind their actions.

“What is even worse, they did not even wait to see how they could have benefited from the employment packages that chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced to keep people in jobs, whether they are full-time or self-employed.

“Unite has members at both organisations and we urge their bosses to engage with Unite to work constructively to keep dedicated workers in employment.

“I am sure that these organisations are not the only ones across London to take opportunistic advantage of their staff at a time of national emergency – and if Unite uncovers further examples, we will call them out without fear or favour.”


Notes to editors:

For more about Unite's work during the coronavirus crisis to keep workers and the public safe, and to protect jobs and incomes, click here.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web:  

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.