Motorway workers employed by construction and infrastructure firm, Kier, will today hold a protest rally at its Bedfordshire headquarters to raise awareness about non-standard levels of sick pay being offered within the organisation.
The on-the-ground field-based staff, who provide a 24/7 service to ensure the roads of Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire are incident-free, are only paid statutory sick pay (SSP); worth just £96.35 a week.
All of these people will have worked tirelessly to maintain routes during the difficult pandemic period.
But this level of sick pay contrasts with what office-based Kier staff and those who are directly employed by its client, Highways England receive. These workers and Highways England employed staff are on full sick pay – which is available from day one – for a period of three-months.
At today’s protest, banners will be unfurled, with the words ‘Kier end the discrimination on sick pay.’
Support for the protest has been given by union, Unite. Unite regional officer Malcom Bonnett, said: “It is simply unjustifiable that office-based workers receive full sick pay while those working on the motorway network only receive SSP.”
He added: “If Kier does not end the discrimination to motorway operatives Unite will step up the campaign which will involve further protests and the possibility of additional actions in order to secure a fair deal for our members.”
According to Unite, failure to provide proper sick pay is causing workers to come in while sick, potentially putting other drivers’ lives at risk.
Kier Group has been contacted for comment.