WHAT: Campaigners will protest about wage robbery occurring at local defence sites in Gosport High Street
WHEN: Friday 23 March 2018, 14:00
WHERE: Top of Gosport High Street (by Coffee 1 Café) to Caroline Dineage MP’s office at bottom of High Street

Unite, the UK’s largest union, will join together with local community groups and the Labour party, to step up the fight against ‘pernicious wage robbery’ occurring at local defence establishments on Friday 23 March.

The wage robbery is being undertaken by ESS, part of the multi-million Compass Group, at local Royal Navy bases including Fort Blockhouse, Whale Island, HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan. Low paid female and male staff operating on outsourced contracts and undertaking roles including cleaners, mess hands and housekeepers have been forced to accept new contracts which mean that they are only paid for 48 or 50 weeks a year, with the remaining weeks unpaid. To add insult to injury ESS has cut the affected staff’s holiday pay by one day per fortnight not worked.

Since the workers have begun their protests some have been subjected to appalling levels of bullying and harassment at the affected sites. Problems are most extreme at HMS Collingwood where it is regular practice to lock staff in rooms during meetings and to shout at them.

The campaigners will be delivering a petition opposing the wage robbery to the local MP Caroline Dineage and are seeking a meeting with her to enlist her support.

ESS has introduced its wage robbery policy in order to boost profits and to give itself a commercial advantage in bidding for outsourced contracts.

Unite regional official Bob Middleton said: “The behaviour of ESS is simply disgraceful, not only is the company robbing staff of their pay by cutting their weeks but it is subjecting them to a campaign of bullying, harassment and intimidation.

“The petition demonstrates that the local community is disgusted about the treatment that these low paid women and men have been subjected to.

“We are giving Caroline Dineage MP the opportunity to do the right thing, by supporting ordinary workers in their fight against a multi-million pound company and to back our campaign to force ESS to end this wage robbery.

“This is the grim reality of public sector outsourcing. These workers are paid by taxpayers’ money on contracts outsourced by the Military of Defence, but all those concerned want to wash their hands of the problem and pretend it is not their responsibility.”

Unite is currently in the process of conducting a bullying at work survey for all members who work at Fort Blockhouse, Whale Island, HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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 with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.