United Kingdom

Pimlico Plummers tycoon Charlie Mullins FIRES staff who refused to return to work from furlough

Pimlico Plumbers entrepreneur Charlie Mullins says he has fired a number of staff who refused to return to work on Friday after ending his company’s use of the Government furlough scheme.

Mullins, who runs one of Britain’s biggest independent plumbing firms, said the majority of his 450 staff returned, with around 30 losing their jobs through redundancy voluntarily or having their employment terminated.

He urged other companies to follow suit by pulling workers off the furlough scheme as soon as possible to limit the long-term damage to the economy and risking ‘massive unemployment’.

He said he believed the job retention programme should be replaced with a scheme devised to help only the most troubled industries and vulnerable people unable to return to work.

Pimlico Plumbers entrepreneur Charlie Mullins says he has fired a number of staff who refused to return to work on Friday after ending his company’s use of the Government furlough scheme

He said furlough is already causing problems, with some workers ‘milking’ the system and many that ‘are never going to get a job again’ because they have been at home too long. 

‘We made a decision on Friday that you’re either back to work or we’ve made you redundant,’ he said. ‘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.’

He said he believed the most reluctant to come back in were also ‘the first people that ran out of the office within five minutes’ when the furlough scheme was first launched.

From August 1, employers are expected to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for employees on furlough.

In September, the Government contribution will reduce to 70 per cent, with further reductions before it is closed in November. 

Mullins, who runs one of Britain’s biggest independent plumbing firms, said the majority of his 450 staff returned, with around 30 losing their jobs through redundancy voluntarily or having their employment terminated

After that, if an employer brings someone back who was furloughed and continues to employ them between November and January 2021, the Government will award a £1,000 ‘bonus’ for each worker. 

Mullins, speaking from Marbella, Spain, yesterday, 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.’

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