‘I am still fighting for the workers’
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