VICTORY! Fellow Worker recovers illegal deduction of wages

Following our Fellow Worker’s success against notorious social care company Your Lifestyle, we were contacted by another worker who had been frustrated by the company.

The IWW has campaigned against the spread of ‘trial shifts’, where people are forced to work for free to prove they can do the job, or receive initial training. The ACAS guideline is that this unpaid work should not be for more than one shift, but even this generous rule in the bosses favour is routinely broken.

However, we’ve never heard before of the kind of naked profiteering practised by Your Lifestyle.

Your Lifestyle (YL) have gained a reputation for misleading adverts for “social care work” that attract highly skilled migrants recruited from other countries to take jobs that are actually for support work. When new staff arrive they are told to attend mandatory training sessions with no pay.

But that’s not the worst of it. They then are told that if they leave within 1 year they will be forced to PAY £250 for the training (that they attended at no charge for the employer!) as a deduction from their final wage packet!

Spanish workers, disgusted at this unfair treatment, complained loudly to YL. In response ‘macho man’ Leo Bifulco emailed all Spanish staff to say that, in recognition of the distance they had travelled to take up the job, their £250 ‘punishment’ would be waived.

Mr Bifulco conveniently forgot that there were workers from other countries who had travelled much further (from Thailand for example!), and that his ‘royal pardon’ for Spanish staff was clearly discriminatory. So, he later sent an email to say that only Spaniards that had been recruited via the IGM agency qualified for the ‘reverse bonus’! Then the dodgy deal was later removed altogether.

During this self-inflicted confusion at YL (maybe similar to the ‘technically officially’ correct confusion over YL getting caught paying 16 workers under the National Minimum Wage last year!), a Spanish worker left the company.

When the worker left, they understood that the £250 ‘punishment payment’ would not be deducted from their wages, but it was. They emailed YL repeatedly over a period of 5 months to get the money returned, but their protests were belittled and ignored.

So, the worker contacted the IWW for support. Our expert caseworkers examined the situation, and found that his contract had been varied (by the clarifying email) after it had been terminated. So, we emailed the company to inform them that they had illegaly witheld the worker’s wages, and unless the money was paid within 7 days, we would begin protests outside their Gloucester HQ, along with commencing legal action to recover the owed wages.

Your Lifestyle was left with no choice but to pay the worker what they were owed, and the £250 was returned to them. VICTORY! The worker has now returned to Spain, where they are fighting on against IGM agency and others who advertise YL’s misleading vacancies.

Have you had problems with your employer? Or do you want to help support those who have?

Join the IWW today, and join the fight for a better, fairer deal between workers and bosses! We can train you to be a workplace organiser and a union rep, and support other members in disputes with their employers.