Press Release of the Day – 30th March

170 cleaners at Ford Dagenham ‘utterly betrayed’ in coronavirus fight

Around 170 cleaners at Ford Dagenham, who have been in the frontline to ensure sterilised areas for the imminent production of ventilators, have been betrayed as they face a 20% pay cut this week.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said the cleaners, who work at Dagenham and Ford Dunton, had been badly let down by the Ford management and cleaning contractor Hamton Environmental which employs them.

While other employees at the company are being paid full basic pay from this week as they are laid-off, the cleaners, who have been on site risking their own health, are being treated less favourably after being told they are to be furloughed this week, which will result in a 20% cut in their already low wages.

Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: “These cleaners demand justice as they are being treated as second class citizens, but are, in fact, essential key workers. As one of the lowest paid group of workers at the Ford plants suffering any deduction in wages will have a huge impact on their ability to keep a roof over their head and feed their families.

“They increased their risk of being infected by the coronavirus last week to ensure a sterile environment.

“They have stepped up to the plate and done the right thing for the whole country working tirelessly so that the much-needed ventilators for the NHS can be produced at Dagenham.

“But their employer Hamton Environmental will save 80% on the wage bill and also receive a VAT deferral.

“Ford’s cleaners living in London are paid just over £300-a-week and are set to lose 20% of that money from this week, which is an absolute disgrace – they have been utterly betrayed.

“Given the government offset to support wages, the 20% is not a large amount for an employer to pay, but it is an unsustainable amount for our low paid members to lose.

“Unite has already ‘named and shamed’ greedy employers who are saving money while their workers suffer. Ford and Hamton Environmental need to do the right thing by these workers rather than join the growing list of shameful employers.”

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