Out-of-pocket workers to take on outsourcing giant in legal battle

Workers should not be saddled with debt for years because of the blunders of a company

A major outsourcing firm is facing legal action after a contract change left some low-waged staff unable to pay their bills, says UNISON today (Wednesday).

More than 260 hospital and school workers across the country are taking ISS to an employment tribunal because a badly implemented change to their pay cycle left them out of pocket and pushed them into debt.

The employees accuse ISS, which has been awarded millions of pounds worth of government cleaning and catering contracts, of breach of contract and making unauthorised deductions from their wages in tribunal claims backed by UNISON.

The workers did not receive their wages correctly, as a result of a move to fortnightly pay in April and May that continues to leave them short of money, says UNISON. Many low-paid workers had to ask for loans because they were unable to pay for essentials and regular outgoings such as rent.

A date is still to be set for a tribunal hearing. UNISON says the company must reimburse the workers and put right their financial hardship.

UNISON’s acting national business secretary Donna Rowe-Merriman said: “All employees should be paid on time for the work they’ve done, not racking up debts due to their employer’s incompetence.

“Millions in this country are only just managing to balance their household budgets, so if their wages don’t turn up, it can instantly push them into a spiral of debt. The long-term effects can be devastating because they don’t have the luxury of rainy-day funds.

“These low-paid ISS staff were left unable to pay rent, buy food or meet their bills because of this payroll fiasco. They should not be saddled with debt for years because of the blunders of a company racking up eye-watering profits.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.
– ISS has been awarded more than £300m worth of contracts since 2015. It brought in the payroll changes between 18 April 2019 and 9 May 2019 to pay staff fortnightly.

Media contacts:
Garfield Myrie T: 020 7121 5546 M: 07432741565 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk