Pimlico Plumbers boss SACKS staff who refused to return to work after furlough stopped
PIMLICO Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins has fired staff who refused to return to the work after ending his firm's use of the furlough scheme.
Mullins said around 30 members of staff were sacked or took voluntary redundancy when they declined to come back to work on Friday.
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The 67-year-old accused some workers of "milking" the system and suggested some may never return to work as they are now too used to being at home.
He urged other companies to follow his lead by pulling their workers off the coronavirus furlough scheme, reports the Mail on Sunday.
Mullins warned people need to get back to work to limit damage to the economy and stave off the threat of "massive unemployment".
The millionaire tycoon said the furlough scheme should be replaced with a plan to help the most troubled industries suffering in the pandemic.
He added the Government should have an additional scheme to support vulnerable people unable to return to work due to the coronavirus.
Majority of his 450 staff at the plumbing firm returned, Mullins said, and those who didn't want to come back were "the first people that ran out of the office" when furlough was announced.
"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," 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."
Mullins added: "I think it’s been badly abused and milked by a lot of people who don’t want to go back to work."
Employers are now expected to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for employees on furlough.
The scheme was rolled out at the start of lockdown in March as the government offered to pay 80 per cent of the wages of people who couldn't work.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is now however beginning to wind up the scheme to encourage Brits to return to their jobs to help get the economy moving again.
In September, the Government contribution will reduce to 70 per cent,before further reductions ahead of it's shutdown in November.
And as an extra incentive to bring people back to work, the Government will award companies £1,000 bonuses if they employ furloughed workers between November and January 2021.
Speaking for Marbella, Mullins 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."
New figures show almost 20 per cent of workers are still on furlough – with just 7 per cent coming off between June 29 and July 12.
Nine million employees have been enrolled onto the scheme- with estimations that 1.2million jobs are at risk of redundancy when it ends.
Overall, 18.5 per cent of the workforce in all industries are still relying on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme for income.
This week, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "We urge employers to do everything they can to avoid making redundancies, but where this is unavoidable it is important that employees receive the payments they are rightly entitled to."
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