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Monday, Jan 25, 2021

Owner of Pimlico Plumbers sacks workers who refuse to return after furlough

A millionaire businessman has sacked several employees who wouldn’t come back to work after their furlough payments ended.
Entrepreneur Charlie Mullins, who owns Pimlico Plumbers, says he terminated people’s contracts and made others redundant on Friday after ending his company’s use of the Government scheme.

A majority of the 450 people who work for what is one of Britain’s biggest independent plumbing firms have returned but the 30 who didn’t lost their jobs, according to MailOnline.

The tycoon believes other employers should do the same to limit the economic damage and stop people ‘milking’ the system.

He’s called for the job retention programme to be replaced by something that only helps the most troubled industries and those unable to work because they are vulnerable.

He said: ‘We made a decision on Friday that you’re either back to work or we’ve made you redundant. The furlough scheme was a good idea and it was the lifeline that businesses and workers needed at the time.

‘But I think it’s been badly abused and milked by a lot of people who don’t want to go back to work.

‘I had people begging to come back to work and I had other people telling everybody the last thing they wanted to do was to go back to work and they’ll stay on furlough as long as they can.’

The move came as employers began to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for employees still on furlough.

The change, which came into force on August 1, has led to fears that many companies who haven’t yet recovered from the crisis will begin to make mass redundancies.

It’s estimated that the scheme has so far cost the Government £25billion. From September, only 70 per cent of staff wages will be paid by the state and this figure will reduce further before the whole scheme is closed for good in November.

The government’s offered a one-off £1,000 payment to all companies who bring employees back and keep them on between November and January 2021.

Mr Mullins is regarded as Britain’s richest plumber, with an estimated fortune of £70million. His company works for several celebrity clients including Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig and Dame Helen Mirren.

In February he stepped down as chief executive and handed control to his son Scott, taking the role of chairman instead.

He said: ‘A lot of bosses are uncomfortable saying to people: “You no longer have a job.” It’s not a nice thing to have to do.

‘Companies are putting it off because someone else is paying and to me they’re not proper bosses. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. You’ve got to take the criticism.

‘I said from day one, I’m not prepared to pay anybody to sit at home and do nothing. Now this has kicked into play… we’ve made people redundant.’

He also said his company won’t accept the £1,000 one off payment being offered by the government, calling it a ‘bribe.’ All those who do take the money and then let staff go next year should be fined £10,000, according to Mr Mullins.
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