Tuesday, 08 January 2019 08:34


Airdrie and Shotts MSP Alex Neil and MP Neil Gray have stepped up the pressure to ensure wages due to former employees of Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) are paid out as a priority.

While the company’s bank (HSBC) is sitting on nearly £2 million of HES’s money, it is refusing to release the £300,000 sum to settle wages owed to workers. Both local MSP and MP have demanded there is a moral imperative to release this portion of the funds held by the bank in early course – with media reports in recent days that former staff are now relying on foodbanks to survive.
Mr Neil attended an emergency meeting with HES workers on Monday (7th January). He also asked an urgent question in the Scottish Parliament today urging Business Minister Jamie Hepburn to pursue these and other issues, including allegations regarding the UK Cabinet Office’s involvement in the matter. 
Neil Gray MP has also met with the Work & Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd on the first sitting day (7th Jan) at Westminster to request help for former HES workers. Mr Gray raised the issue of lost wages and overtime from December and if the UK Government will assist in helping redundant staff find new jobs. 
Alex Neil MSP said:
“Paying wages, overtime and other payments due to workers should be the overarching priority – and there’s a moral responsibility upon HSBC not to hold onto these funds for themselves.  
“Both Scottish and UK Governments should apply pressure at the highest level, urging the bank to do the right thing and pay this money out now.
“Those companies appointed to take over HES’s contracts for the NHS must also be required to recruit HES workers under the TUPE scheme.
“But there remain serious issues to be addressed, including the suggestion the UK Cabinet Office is trying to stymie a buyout of HES which could save this business and the jobs that depend upon it.

Neil Gray MP added:  
“I had a constructive meeting with Amber Rudd and she agreed to get further advice on where the workers stand regards their lost wages and potential new jobs. 
“I stressed the hardship being suffered by many of my constituents and hope UK Ministers will now do all they can to help in this very difficult situation. 
“Alongside this request of UK Ministers, Alex and I have held an advice surgery, requested that workers get transferred to the new contractor, assisted in getting Scottish Government help and worked to try to find a buyer for the company.
“It is a tragic time for the workers and we will continue to do all we can to help them.”

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