Agency staff, working for West Lancashire Borough Council’s Street Scene Department, are in shock at having been told not to report for work. This news came out of the blue for the workers, some of whom have been working for the Council on the bins for between 4 and 7 years.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper’s Office immediately contacted the Council’s Managing Director responsible for Human Resources Gill Rowe and Street Scene boss Graham Concannon to raise these concerns. Mrs Rowe said she would be speaking from a ‘position of ignorance’ in trying to answer questions about why these long-standing agency workers had been told not to report for work. Whilst Mr Concannon explained that it was out of his control given the Council’s new contract with Matrix, which is operated through Lancashire County Council.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“What a farce! It is a disgrace that these workers have been treated in this manner. A number of them have given several years service. It would appear that the Council is operating this new system as a means of ensuring agency workers can only do a maximum of 12 weeks with the Council so they are deprived of the higher rate of pay that they would be due after this time. A rate of pay they would get paid if they were employed directly by the Council.
“How low has West Lancashire Borough Council sunk? For the Council to treat long-standing workers in this manner shows how little they care or value the service of these workers. All employees deserve to be treated with dignity and respect rather than just cast aside by executives who actually haven't got a clue what is happening in their name.
“Based on the response I received, I do not believe the Council fully understood the impact of this new contract, as the council freely admit they still require agency workers to do this work. I have received assurances that these men will be invited to a meeting and their future employment discussed.
But this only deals with the problem in the short term and therefore, I am calling for a detailed inquiry in to:
a)the contract, with the details and its intentions made public;
b)who is the West Lancashire Borough Council accountable officer and why they didn't know what was happening;
c)a clear statement of intent that the council will operate proper HR policies whose aim is not to deprive agency workers of their rightful pay ;
d)that the council make clear their intentions to the currently affected workers and that their rights be recognised and any pay due to them paid;
e)that the Council apologise and make reparations for their poor behaviour.