John and Graham both started work at the local factory more than twenty years ago. They both agreed to an internal transfer and became Security Guards in the gatehouse.
That wasn't a good decision...
During the last ten years, they have been "TUPE'd" to several different employers.
There were ten of them when the factory first contracting out security to a third party / dodgy employer. John and Graham are the only remaining guards from that time.
So why have 80% of these workers quit since 2006?
Quite simply, they've been treated appallingly. This pair have doggedly used their union to defend what decent terms and conditions they have, including an enhanced overtime rate and modest sick pay scheme. Sometimes these things get paid,,,sometimes they don't....sometimes it's not done properly. Everything in every direction is always hassle.
Despite constant pressure to attack these things, the duo have held firm and resisted. But most walked away because they didn't want or need the grief.
In ten years, they haven't had a pay rise.
There have been too many injustices to list here. I will simply chose one...
Two years ago, Graham hit his 20 year anniversary of continuous employment at the factory. He was contractually entitled to a payment of £400. Factory workers still directly employed by the factory also get a framed thank-you, plus a meal out.
Graham got nothing. Quite rightly, he raised a grievance. The employer agreed the £400 was an entitlement, and blamed the factory for not paying it to them so they could pass it on. I thought it was very sad that Graham wouldn't even raise the thank-you or meal. He wanted neither from them,
The grievance outcome was that the employer promised to get the £400 sorted ASAP.
It's still not sorted now.
Even the HR at the factory became disgusted at the behaviour of the security firm. They could show that the payment of the £400 wasn't their responsibility. However, they eventually took the extraordinary decision to pay the money directly to the security firm. They instructed them in writing to pay the money to Graham ASAP.
The security firm simply kept the £400 ! Words fail me.
Understandably, the factory management are annoyed. I will be extremely surprised if a contract extension is awarded to this abysmal firm.
But that won't be the end of the story, it will simply be the beginning of a new chapter, and a new attempt to get these men to sign a terrible new contract.
So where is the sense in all of this?
Ten years ago, there were ten highly motivated guards who knew the factory inside out. They were proud to work there. They undertook more patrols than was required. They were friendly and helpful to visitors.
Now there are ten miserable, demotivated guards, all going through the motions and wishing they were somewhere else. Only John and Graham have a proper, permanent contract. Some of them would turn a blind eye to a security issue. I don't blame them.
Ten years ago they were part of the factory xmas party. Now, like the cleaners, they have become invisible. Now they are excluded from all factory social functions.
I wish this story was a rarity. But this sort of shoddiness applies to thousands of businesses across the UK, and are found in most sectors of the economy. It means hundreds of thousands of unhappy people, and thousands of less secure businesses. What major business has kept it's guards in-house? I can't think of any.
The treatment of security guards is false economy, unnecessary and cruel.
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