Key workers, employed by construction company Kier, who keep the South East’s motorway network operational will hold a protest tomorrow (Wednesday 18 August) at the company’s offices, due to the refusal to pay them sick pay.

WHEN: Wednesday 18 August 12;30-14:00

WHERE: Bridgwater House, Basingstoke RG22 4BS

The workers, who have provided a seven day, 24 hour service throughout the pandemic to ensure that the motorway and key roads network on the Highways England Area 3 contract, which covers Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and parts of Buckinghamshire, have remained fully open and properly maintained, with delays due to accidents minimised.

Only SSP

Despite being required to work day and night in all weathers the highways maintenance workers only receive statutory sick pay (SSP), which is worth just £96.35 a week.

This is in contrast to the office based staff at Kier and the workers who are directly employed by the client Highways England – both groups receive full sick pay from day one for a three month period.

As part of the protest the workers will be unveiling a banner which reads “Kier end the discrimination on sick pay”.

Unfair system

Unite regional officer Malcom Bonnett said: “Kier's workers who operate in all weathers to keep the South East’s motorway network fully operational deserve full sick pay, when they are ill.

“The pandemic has exposed the fact that workers simply can’t survive on SSP which is less than £100 a week.

“The lack of sick pay results in workers continuing to come to work when they are ill. In normal times, due to the safety critical work they undertake. this could have tragic consequences. During the Covid pandemic it leads to unnecessary risk of exposure to infection.

“It is simply unjustifiable that office based workers receive full sick pay while those working on the motorway network only receive SSP.

“With Kier recently being re-awarded the contract on Area 3, now is the perfect time for the company to act and level the playing field on sick pay.

“If Kier does not end the discrimination to motorway operatives Unite will step up the campaign which will involve further protests and the possibility of additional actions in order to secure a fair deal for our members.”

Contract secured

Kier has recently secured the contract to continue to provide highways maintenance on the Area 3 contract for a further eight years. The contract will run until October 2029.


Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

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