Emma Hardy, the MP for Hull West and Hessle, has called on the Government to review procurement rules in the face of the FCC strike to promote employer responsibility.
Emma asked the question during Cabinet Office oral questions today. It was asked in view of the strikes at FCC Environment. FCC Environment are a multinational corporation, headquartered in Spain, who refuse to pay any worker below management level sick pay as of right.
FCC Environment carries out public sector contracts across 160 parliamentary constituencies and workers carry out work in a hazardous environment.
Emma’s intervention comes after three visits to the picket line in Hull. She is also co-ordinating a letter of MPs to send to the directors of FCC Environment.
Wilmington strikers are fighting to share the same rights to paid sick leave as the managers and supervisors in the company they work for. At a recent meeting with FCC, UNISON argued that given the nature of the job, using heavy equipment to deal with contaminated waste in all weather conditions, a sick pay scheme is a ‘safety net’ for when people fall ill.
Unfortunately the attitude of FCC Managers; who receive sick pay; was that their blue collar employees “should find their own safety net”.
Managers and supervisors with the same or similar illnesses would have been able to take time off on sick pay to recover.
Workers have previously stated that they would be prepared to forego their annual bonuses and other payments to ensure that the company is able to pay for sick pay for them.
Commenting, Emma said “Sick pay is a basic right for employees and a basic duty for employers to pay- it is not something that you can pick and choose, it is part of the cost of employing somebody. This is not just an issue in Hull as the company employs people in 160 different parliamentary constituencies. I am pleased that MPs from across the House seem to agree with me on this particular case. I’ll be sending a letter in the near future to the directors of FCC asking them to pay up that I’m hoping will be signed by members of all parties.
“But this is part of a wider issue concerning public sector contracts and promoting employment rights. If a firm is in receipt of public contracts then it has a responsibility to live up to a higher standard and our rules of government procurement need to reflect this. That’s why I asked the government minister today to review the rules and make the changes necessary to increase employment rights.”