Axed staff at clinical waste firm in plea to bosses for wages

Hundreds of former employees of a firm which ceased trading after a clinical waste stockpiling controversy are calling on company bosses to “do the decent thing” and ensure they are paid.

Staff formerly employed by Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) said 350 people have not been paid since November 28, and many have had to turn to food banks after being made redundant in December.

HES was caught up in a clinical waste stockpiling controversy with the NHS last year, during which the company denied claims human body parts were among items caught up in a backlog at its sites.

HES was thought to have employed 150 people in Shotts, North Lanarkshire, and 350 elsewhere across the UK, and it previously had contracts with the NHS in England and Scotland.

A group of former employees calling themselves Help Us Healthcare have now written to company chiefs Garry and Alison Pettigrew urging them to pay them what they are due.

They are also calling on HSBC to make a statement on its involvement in the finances of HES after claims the bank froze the firms accounts.

They wrote: “Garry and Alison, as former employees of Healthcare Environmental Services (HES), we are collectively writing to appeal to you to take the morally right and legal action and pay us for the work we did on behalf of your business.

“Many of us have had to visit food banks over the festive period, and for many Christmas was cancelled.

“We understand that you are continuing your fight with the UK and Scottish governments and we wish you well, but there are 350 people throughout the UK with families and responsibilities who have not been paid since the 28th of November.

“We are also calling on the bank HSBC to make a public statement on the claims by HES that the reason we have not been paid is due to the bank freezing the HES accounts.

“Garry and Alison, we implore you to do the decent thing and pay your employees for the work they did on behalf of your company and allow us all to move forward with our lives.”

The workers also voiced fears some employees may not be entitled to receive any redundancy payments as they have been informed the company is still active.

HES could not be reached for comment.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland on Monday, Mr Pettigrew insisted he is “still fighting” for workers.

He said: “I will never throw in the towel. I have been fighting for this business for 23 years. I owe it to everyone to make sure this business survives.

“In 23 years I have paid every worker during that time and, believe it or not, I am still fighting for the workers, I am still fighting for this business and I will do that till the very end, until there is no breath left in me.”