Irwin Mitchell Shocked To Learn That Key Workers At Angard Agency Staff Are Not Receiving Hand Sanitisers
Employment lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell have accused Royal Mail of failing to provide its agency workers with the same protection from coronavirus as other employed postal workers.
The Irwin Mitchell team has written to Royal Mail’s lawyers concerning the company’s apparent prejudicial treatment of agency workers by not providing workers with individual bottles of hand sanitiser as they provide to other Royal Mail staff.
Royal Mail has provided each Royal Mail employee with an individual bottle of hand sanitiser as a health and safety precaution to use when they are at the mail centre. However, when employees of Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail, who carry out the same job as Royal Mail employees, asked for the same treatment they were told that the hand sanitisers are for Royal Mail employees only.
This flies in the face of current employment law. Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, agency workers have the right to be treated equally to direct employees immediately in relation to the use of collective facilities and amenities at work, and after 12 weeks in relation to pay, leave and working hours.
Irwin Mitchell believes this practice is widespread and likely to be occurring at numerous mail sorting sites affecting large numbers of Agency Mail sorters. Angard workers have been told instead to use sanitisers supplied by Royal Mail “for communal use”- but it appears these have only been introduced today in some sites.
Irwin Mitchell is already pursuing a Group Action Litigation on behalf of 66 agency workers, in their employment tribunal claims against Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd and Royal Mail Group Ltd on the grounds of the unequal treatment of agency workers. According to Shazia Khan, employment partner at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the Group, this further action by the Royal Mail is indicative of the organization’s attitude to its agency workers.
Ashfaq Ahmed, mail sorter at Leeds Mail Centre said : “I have watched my Royal Mail colleagues receive individual bottles of hand sanitiser, I queried this with my manager who told me that because we don’t work regularly, they can’t provide hand sanitiser to us. However there is no communal hand sanitiser available either. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus my shifts have doubled.”
Shazia Khan, Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell for the 66 Agency Workers said:
Expert Opinion”It’s shocking that in these current unprecedented times, Royal Mail has disregarded parity of treatment with regards to collective facilities for my key worker client; this is both legally and morally wholly questionable. I impress upon Royal Mail to urgently rectify this practice and take urgent steps to safeguard the health and safety of its agency workforce and provide them with hand sanitiser also.” Shazia Khan - Partner
Irwin Mitchell has instructed Adam Ohringer of Cloisters Chambers to represent the Claimants in the Group Litigation.