GMB London welcome Amey decisions on sick pay and reorganisation for social distancing rules in refuse services


GMB London, the union for refuse staff, welcome the decision by outsourced contractor Amey to pay full pay to workers off sick with Coronavirus, or those absent from work due to self isolating, in the current health emergency. Amey has also said that it will back date this to ensure that any refuse worker who has had to self isolate, or had coronavirus, and only received SSP will now receive full pay.

​Further, Amey also said they are “more than happy to take on board” the “concerns and advice” of GMB in respect of the need for social distancing measures. GMB London has previously expressed grave concerns at the proximity of refuse collectors to one another in vehicles and Amey has said it will now reorganise to comply with social distancing rules. GMB welcomes this as it ensures all reasonable measures are being taken to protect these essential workers and means compliance with the rules currently required by Government to stop the spread of the virus.

Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser said “GMB welcome this decision to pay full pay for staff either off sick with the virus or for those absent from work due to the self isolating requirements currently in force. GMB London is pleased Amey recognise that the​y initially got the decision wrong and we are happy to accept the apology.

Equally important from my talks with the company yesterday is the​ir new commitment to reorganise work to comply with the social distancing requirements currently in place during the health emergency.

My understanding from Amey is that this will apply in all contracts across the UK.

This inevitably will involve discussions with the clients who will be aware that there is no alternative to making these changes since compliance with the social distancing requirements are not voluntary as was made clear by Michael Gove at yesterday’s national press conference in response to a question on the issue from the Daily Record”

See notes to editors for copy of statements from Chief Executive to all employees on the sick pay issue.

This response from Amey was a result of GMB London issuing two separate press releases raising the issue of sick pay and the need to reorganise work, to comply with the social distancing rules currently in place and highlighting what was happening to GMB members working on the Amey refuse contract in London Borough of Ealing. See below notes to editors for links to press release dated 30 March on Sick Pay and press release dated 23rd March on the social distancing rules.

Amanda Fisher, Amey Chief Executive said in the statement to employees ” You may have seen a news article yesterday about sick pay for Amey employees affected by Covid-19. We are grateful that the GMB has brought the issue around statutory sick pay for those affected by Covid-19 to our attention. We take pride in our employees being the driving force behind our business and we realise that on this occasion we got it wrong, for which we apologise.

We have conducted an immediate review of our policy and can announce that any employee who is affected by Covid-19 – because they are sick or are self-isolating – will not be penalised for the effects of coronavirus. They will now receive full pay rather than statutory sick pay with immediate effect. This will also apply retrospectively to those that have taken time off due to the virus in the past few weeks.

This decision has been made to help protect our employees in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic, and ensure we are following government guidelines for keeping employees safe from the unnecessary spread of infection.”

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