‘I am still fight­ing for the work­ers’

Wishaw Press - - CEREMONY -

The boss of Shotts waste firm HES in­sists he is “still fight­ing” for work­ers - de­spite staff hav­ing to turn to food­banks af­ter not be­ing paid when the firm ceased trad­ing.

Manag­ing di­rec­tor Garry Pet­ti­grew claimed he was “dis­traught” at the sit­u­a­tion some of his for­mer staff were now in af­ter be­ing made re­dun­dant.

Ear­lier in 2018 the firm was em­broiled in a clin­i­cal waste stock­pil­ing con­tro­versy, with bosses forced to deny claims that hu­man body parts were among items caught up in a back­log at its sites.

Speak­ing on BBC Ra­dio Scot­land’s Good Morn­ing Scot­land pro­gramme, Mr Pet­ti­grew in­sisted: “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.”

Mr Pet­ti­grew in­sisted the gov­ern­ment would “have to step in and help” with statu­tory re­dun­dancy pay­ments.

But as the firm has not been placed into ad­min­is­tra­tion, it is un­cer­tain if the state Re­dun­dancy Pay­ments Ser­vice will be able to make pay­outs.

Mr Pet­ti­grew said there were “at least four or five” in­ter­ested buy­ers for the com­pany, but claimed they were be­ing put off by the UK Gov­ern­ment.

He al­leged: “Buy­ers have been kept away from us by the UK Gov­ern­ment, they keep telling the buy­ers to wait till we go un­der.

“My job is to make sure the busi­ness sur­vives and that is what I have been try­ing to do.

“It’s very un­for­tu­nate what has hap­pened to the busi­ness, that the busi­ness ob­vi­ously has ceased trad­ing and that has meant we are un­able to pay the lat­est staff wages.”

Shared con­cern Staff af­ter be­ing made re­dun­dant

Sup­port Scot­tish Labour leader Richard Leonard with staff

Meet­ing place The Sal­va­tion Army build­ing in Shotts has served as a fo­cal point for staff made re­dun­dant in­clud­ing Mark Bul­loch (left) and Jim Sharp

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