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Issue:- 11 November 2010


THE 2008/09 bonus paid to senior managers amounts to £1.6m which is the equivalent of the wage bill for 3 Remploy factory sites for a year says GMB.  GMB has written to the Maria Millar, Minister of State for the disabled, asking her to stop over 250 senior managers at Remploy disabled workshops being paid up to £7,500 in bonus on top of high salaries as high as £120,000 per year. Many of the top 20 to 30 senior managers, who earn over £60,000 per year, will receive up to £10,000 each.

The average bonus paid to the full group of managers is around £4,500. The average pay for a disabled hourly paid worker in Remploy is less than £12,000 per year. The company has managed to push this through the DWP on the basis that it is paid for last year.

The company implemented a 1% pay award in 2009 and has offered nothing to the 5000 staff and disabled workers this year employed at 54 locations across the UK (see notes for list) . Remploy senior management has told the trade unions that the DWP has refused to allow the company to offer anything and the last increase was May 2009.

Phil Davies, National Secretary of the GMB Manufacturing Section and senior GMB negotiator said:- “This is a total disgrace. Most of these fat cat managers have expensive cars, private healthcare and are paid wages our members can only dream about. The 2008/09 bonus paid to senior managers amounts to £1.6m which is the equivalent of the wage bill for 3 Remploy factory sites for a year.  Why, when the company is losing massive amounts of money are these greedy managers being paid massive bonuses? They should be ashamed of themselves and give it back to fund an increase for all.  GMB has written to the Minister are asking the department to directly intervene and stop these bonus payments. We have asked the Government to look at the trade union proposals to save money and to increase jobs for disabled people. We are asking this Government to stop the overspending by management. Let’s get back to a commonsense management who have enough sensitivity to know that when the majority are asked to tighten their belts that you do not allow those who are already paid a salary 6 times higher to receive even more pay on top of an already too high a salary.  The only change that is needed in Remploy is a total change of senior management.”

Kevin Hepworth, Unite Officer and Chair of the Trade Union Consortium said:- “This is totally unacceptable. The shop floor is owed a consolidated bonus payment of just over £4.50 per week. Why has the company refused to pay this small amount which has been outstanding since 2005? The company now has more senior managers (524) than ever before. These people live on the backs of the disabled.  The trade unions recently met with the new Minister, Maria Miller and the impression given to them was that the high spending senior management will be stopped from their lavish lifestyle management of spend, spend, spend!  The trade unions will now campaign for a decent increase for disabled employees and to stop these ridiculous bonuses being paid.”

Big business immigration loophole would be unfair on small firms

POSSIBLE plans to allow multi-national companies to bypass immigration laws would be hugely unfair on smaller firms, it has been warned.  The Forum of Private Business believes Government proposals to exempt intra-company transfers from its forthcoming cap on migration would put small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at a competitive disadvantage.

David Cameron indicated this week that big businesses may be free to transfer their staff from outside the EU to work in the UK, despite the Government’s forthcoming immigration cap, which is likely to severely restrict the amount of non-EU nationals coming to Britain.

The revelation, which emerged during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday, is likely to mean multi-national firms will be able to quickly and easily hire employees through their offices overseas in order to bring them to the UK.

However, the vast majority of SMEs would be unable to do this as they rarely have a base outside the UK. This could leave them struggling to recruit key, highly-skilled employees – and struggling to compete with larger rivals as a result.

Forum spokesman Phil McCabe said:- “We appreciate that immigration is a sensitive issue, particularly in the current climate of high unemployment and strained public services.  However, if the Government is going to restrict economic migration, it should do it in a way which affects businesses of all sizes equally. To give huge multi-national corporations another competitive advantage over small businesses strikes us as being completely unfair.  While most small businesses will only ever need to source workers from within the EU, a significant number – particularly those in scientific sectors such as engineering or pharmaceuticals – need highly specialised skills which require recruitment on a global basis. This is difficult enough already due to the number legal requirements involved.  If the Government creates what would effectively be a big business-only loophole to get around the cap, it would clearly fly in the face of everything the Coalition has said so far about wishing to support small businesses and initiate an SME-led recovery.”

Previous research carried out by the Forum has found smaller employers highly value being able to employ both skilled and unskilled staff from overseas.

Additionally, Forum members consistently cite difficulties in recruiting workers with specialist skills as a major threat to their businesses. In December 2009, the Forum’s Referendum ballot found only 1% of respondents believe the skills of their local workforce are ‘excellent’ and only 25% described them as ‘good’.

The Forum also discovered a strong perception that industry-specific skills are in serious shortage. 26% of respondents said they believe industry-specific skills are ‘poor' – and 11% described them as ‘very poor'.  So what do you our readers think?  Email us with your views on this issue.

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