Firms awarded taxpayers’ money are asking their staff members to break lockdown regulations and transform up for operate in the workplace.
A Sunday Mail investigation has disclosed companies who have been given Scottish Govt contracts are disregarding important Covid-19 health advice.
Staff grievances have rocketed considering the fact that new limitations on movement ended up introduced at the start off of the 12 months.
Charities and unions have accused corporations of “manipulating necessary employee standing for their own ends”.
Scottish Dangers, a office security charity, reported calls to its Covid-19 helpline experienced amplified since the most up-to-date lockdown was enforced on January 5.
The Edinburgh-primarily based group has experienced 400 phone calls from whistleblowers considering the fact that the pandemic started past March.
Even so, 100 folks have documented grievances inside the very last a few weeks.
Companies accused of breaking the legislation consist of businesses who have been awarded community hard cash.
Team at West Lothian-centered Everwarm, a renewables company with a workforce of 357, have lifted fears about being requested to report for office duty.
They say management, such as running director Robert Stirling, declared employees are vital staff and desired onsite.
Some workers were being advised to perform from household during last year’s lockdown.
One particular worker claimed an engineer analyzed good for Covid immediately after coming into call with colleagues in the Bathgate office environment.
One employee, who needed to remain anonymous, said: “The management claim we are necessary staff – we’re not.
“It’s not essential for contractors to place insulation in council structures, make electrical cost details for automobiles or set photo voltaic panels on roofs.
“We’ve been provided letters to display police if stopped.
“It’s like receiving a take note from your mum. Employees in the office are coming in from all more than Scotland to do paperwork they could do from residence.
“There was an engineer in the office environment whose companion tested optimistic for coronavirus before this month but he hadn’t been analyzed.
“He was mingling with anyone in the business and later returned a favourable result. He should’ve been at residence. Why are personnel undertaking admin function remaining pressured to do the job in these conditions?
“This is a firm that is virtually totally reliant on contracts as a result of the Federal government and community authorities. It’s barely a superior example.”
Most current accounts for Everwarm detail £10million really worth of neighborhood authority contracts it received in 2019 out of a whole revenue of £60million.
In 2015, it commenced functioning with the Vitality Saving Have faith in and Changeworks to create Warmworks, which manages the set up of Scottish Governing administration grant-funded energy conserving tools at residence.
Final year’s figures display Warmworks gained a lot more than £22million in revenue, with Everwarm sharing a 3rd of the revenue.
Everwarm is owned by London-based mostly Sureserve Group PLC, whose main executive Bob Holt was compensated £405,000 in 2019.
The organization has previously instructed employees to perform from household wherever ideal.
Holt criticised corporations for abusing the Government’s furlough scheme.
In an interview on Sureserve’s web site, he claimed: “They (the British isles Government) have been fantastic at supporting where we are with Covid by introducing the furlough plan, which has been a excellent support.
“Without staying vital, I am mindful of men and women abusing it, now that we get in the direction of the finish. “I stated to my buddy, ‘It’s incumbent on leaders like me and you to make guaranteed that we really don’t abuse it’.”
The regulations placed a duty on companies to consider all reasonable ways to end the fatal virus’s unfold. Firms breaking the procedures can face sanctions, including prosecution.
Personnel caught going into get the job done when they should not can be fined up to £10,000.
The Scottish Authorities said personnel who worked from residence during the very first lockdown previous calendar year really should do so all over again.
Ian Tasker, of Scottish Dangers, warned the procedures ended up being bent by companies.
He claimed: “We’ve observed a significant variance concerning how this lockdown is staying respected compared to final March.
“There has been a considerable number of phone calls to our helpline considering the fact that January. We’ve real considerations that legal obligations positioned on employers are being dismissed.
“Employers are manipulating essential employee status for their possess wants. You have personnel currently being despatched into other people’s houses for do the job that isn’t essential.
“Similarly you have employees getting advised to come into the business when they could and must be functioning from house.”
Bruce Shields, of Thompsons Solicitors, who runs the firm’s Covid unit, reported: “The behaviour of organizations flouting Covid polices uncovered by Scottish Hazards and the Sunday Mail is really worrying.
“Bosses solid-arming team to attend their position of operate when they have quite actual anxieties about the distribute of coronavirus is not appropriate in any way.
“My group are at the moment making ready lawful motion on behalf of various consumers who have contracted the virus through the action of irresponsible businesses.
“Bosses need to be on observe that if they flout Covid procedures and wellness and basic safety legislation, therefore placing the health and fitness of people at chance, we will use the civil courts to stand up for workers’ legal rights.”
Everwarm declined to remark. Its consultant referred our reporter to a 4-web page letter that Robert Stirling sent Scottish Hazards.
Addressing fears above team working onsite, he reported the business was “fully compliant with the Scottish Govt and the law”.
He wrote: “To additional elaborate, our business office capability enables for 115 personnel at any one time.
“At present, due to existing household-doing work procedures and harmless distancing tips, the office environment is 61 per cent unoccupied with the remaining business office workers…carrying out their essential responsibilities within just the business with our basic safety protocols and techniques in area.”
The Scottish Authorities explained: “We’re very obvious in our polices that anybody who can do their work from home is essential to do so and all employers have to look at whether personnel really require to depart their home to do their task.
“However, in which folks simply cannot do their career from property, they can legitimately be questioned to go away house for get the job done.
“We require each company to look once more at their operations and to make certain each one perform that can be done by men and women working at dwelling is currently being performed in that way.”