CHARGING FOR PPE EQUIPMENT BY AGENCIES
It was made known to me that some agencies who currently provide staff to Interserve were charging their employees for the PPE they are required to wear to carry out duties for London Underground whilst working for Interserve.
Information received suggested that they were being charged £35 for boots, which can only be purchased from the agency, £5 for bump hats, £5 for Hi Vi vest, as well as being charged for overalls and safety goggles.
Under the PPE at Work Regulations 1992, Regulation 4 it states Employers shall provide PPE and training in the use of that PPE to their employees. It states in the H&S at Work Act 1974 that no charges can be made to workers for PPE if it is used in the workplace.
As you can imagine, a lot of the staff involved in this would be on zero hour contracts which makes the situation even more unpalatable. I duly raised the matter with LUL in the strongest terms.
This resulted in management carrying out a thorough review of the practices in place within their direct contractors as well as their sub-contractors. They claim there was no evidence of employees or other workers having to purchase their own PPE or other safety-related equipment, however, there did appear to have been “….a practice among a small number of organisations whereby new workers were asked to pay a refundable deposit of £60 when PPE was first distributed.” This appears to tally with the total of the sums given above.
LUL did accept that whether or not such practice is consistent with the relevant legislation, RMT was right to say it is not appropriate or acceptable. They have therefore instructed their contractors to ensure that both they and any subcontractors cease this practice with immediate effect. They also undertook to monitor the situation.
I am sure you share my delight in seeing such a dodgy working practice getting kicked into touch. In closing I would like to thank our Fleet Representatives for bringing this matter to my attention.