So near, yet so far away. As many as 14 migrant workers from Poland, involved in construction work in south Wales, have won more than £250,000 in compensation. But, they may not succeed in getting their hands on the cash as their employer had left the UK.
The Polish workers are to get the payout from sub-contractor Darmar for work at Uskmouth power station in Newport. They are due to receive approximately £18,000 each in compensation. It came after employment tribunal was told that they did not get the correct overtime payments.
Not only were they not paid the right amounts for overtime, a day of lodging allowance per week was deducted. Moreover, they did not receive leave payments for as many as seven months.
The union representing them, on the other hand, said they may not get the money after all, as their employer has left the UK.
Jeff Beck, of the GMB, said: “The order is enforceable in the UK but the employer has now closed their offices… and has left the UK.
“That makes it impossible to enforce the order while they are out of the UK.
“We have an officer in Brussels and we will be raising this in the European Parliament to see if there are any avenues that can be explored and to expose these people who can just go to another member state and get away with these payments.”
Elaborating, Beck said the money was due through national agreements during the construction of the power station.
“We looked at their pay slips and the amounts of money being paid into their bank accounts, which just didn’t tally.
“We raised this with the auditor on site and then it came to light that these people were being exploited and receiving substantially less than they should’ve received.”