Penny-pinching outsourcing giant Serco has been declared the winner of Unite, the UK’s and Ireland’s largest union, Scrooge employer of the year award.

Serco received the unwanted award, despite facing stiff competition, due to its actions on the St Bartholomew’s NHS contract. The company agreed to pay the London living wage but used a formula to calculate it resulting in workers only being paid £10.17 an hour not the standard £10.20 an hour. Serco were only paying the London living wage for 52 weeks a year and not the calendar year (52.18 weeks).

Serco cut living wage rate

Over an 18 month period Unite members were underpaid by £60, which following intense pressure from the union, Serco was eventually forced to repay.

Serco beat stiff competition to be awarded Scrooge employer of the year. The runners up spot was taken by TGI Fridays, which earlier this year decided to take 40 per cent of the card tips received by waiting staff, who are only paid the minimum wage and employed via zero hours contracts, knocking £60 off the weekly wage packet.

In the bronze medal position was Veolia, which received the nomination for its commercial waste contract in Cheshire where workers are being unpaid for a sixth shift if they work more than five in seven days.

XPO Logistics nominated for pay failures

Other companies to be nominated include XPO Logistics for failing to pay workers correctly over a six month period and Pyrsmian Cables and Systems in Wrexham which tried to sugar a below inflation two per cent pay increase by offering staff a free sausage or bacon bap.

Misery of tight fisted bosses

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Declaring a company as Scrooge of the year may on the face of it be light-hearted, but for our members, who have suffered the misery of working for tight fisted-bosses, this is no laughing matter.

“Unite’s Scrooge awards barely scratch the surface of the major and minor injustices that workers experience in the workplace every day, at the hands of miserable bosses, determined to boost their profits by squeezing every last penny from their workforce.

“This year’s Scrooge nominations have been in workplaces where Unite is organised and where thanks to Unite the injustices have been righted.

“The Scrooge awards show that with Unite on your side penny-pinching bosses will not be allowed to get away with exploiting workers or denying them their rights.”

Serco squeezes every last penny

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon who nominated Serco said: “Serco has sought to squeeze every last penny of profit out of the St Barts contract, primarily at the expense of its staff.

“Unite members have repeatedly stood together and fought back against Serco’s attacks on their pay and terms and conditions. Their solidarity and determination should be applauded.

“Taxpayers will be horrified to learn money earmarked for the NHS, is ending up in the pockets of privateers such as Serco, which then further boost its profits by attacking workers’ pay.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Full list of Scrooge of the year nominees

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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