Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Seriously ill Agency Workers in climate of fear.

I only found this by accident but the  the news that a BBC investigation found. Ambulances were called out to the headquarters of one of Europe's largest sports retailers 76 times in two years, certainly deservres more coverage.

According to the report.
Many of the calls, for workers at Sports Direct's complex at Shirebrook, in Derbyshire, were for "life-threatening" illnesses.
Former workers said some staff were "too scared" to take sick leave because they feared losing their jobs.
 It is not clear exactly how many of these calls were for the thousands of agency workers on site. but there I think  we can safetly assume that angency workers on short term contracts are more likely to go to work in such places when suffering from illness.

It might also be intrsting to investigate if the numbers included any who have been assessed "Fit for Work" under the governments  regulations.

According to the report

A total of 76 ambulances or paramedic cars were dispatched to the distribution centre's post code between January 2013 and December 2014, with 36 cases classed as "life-threatening", including chest pains, breathing problems, convulsions and strokes.
A further seven calls for ambulances were made but cancelled.

The figures, which came from a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC's Inside Out team to East Midlands Ambulance Service, also revealed the service received three calls about women having pregnancy difficulties, including one who gave birth in toilets at the site.
The details have since been passed to the Health and Safety Executive which has said it will examine the data.
Of the 999 calls, six were about car accidents on a road or car park next to the centre, one was for a dog bite and at least two were for a store on the site.
A list of the ambulance calls
The list of calls includes 36 cases classed as "life-threatening" (from BBC)

A document produced by one of the agencies states: "Any person who exceeds six strikes within a rolling six-month period will have their assignment at Sports Direct ended."

Workers can receive a strike for a range of "offences" including:
  • Period of reported sickness
  • Excessive chatting
  • Excessive or long toilet breaks
  • Using a mobile phone in the warehouse
The document adds agencies can end an assignment "at any time without reason, notice or liability".

The Union Unite said it had been told that last year there were about 3,000 agency workers at the Shirebrook headquarters of Sports Direct, which was founded by billionaire Mike Ashley.
Sports Direct has also reported accidents in its warehouse have doubled in the past financial year.
The firm put the rise in accidents down to on-site building work, which has resulted in "increased footfall and decreased workspace".

 Just as this Government are attempting to weaken the Trade Unions further  it is clear that the millions of agency workers who are not Unionised are living in a climate of fear  and are risking thier own health by going to work when they should  be seeking medical treatment.

We can only wonder how far this is replicated amongst Agency Workers else where .

The sad thing is that we are unlikely to find out.

1 comment:

  1. phillip hammond's comments about replicating the working conditions of china and the us are a chilling pointer to what the tories have in store for ordinary working people in the next few years. there needs to be a mass campaign of civil disobedience to defeat their plans to cripple workers right to strike and organise.