Eastern European workers, working as baggage handlers for multinational Swissport at Stansted Airport are being denied basic rights through the company's contracting out system.
Swissport, the multinational company that holds the contract to supply baggage handling at Stansted Airport, is using the employment system to exploit its migrant workers, denying them basic rights such as sick and holiday pay, as secondary companies take further large cuts from their wages for accommodation and "administration fees".
Using a practice known as Labour Only Secondary Contracting (LOSC), Swissport contracts out the employment of their largely Polish workforce to another company, Labour Source Limited (LSL), working out of Walthamstow. LSL in turn insists that the workers are supplied to them by another company, Nova Corporate Services Ltd., through which the workers are registered as "self-employed", as an individual limited company.
A third company, Labour Source Limited of Ruislip, then deducts £433 a month for accommodation and agency fees, as well as taking a £1,650 deposit, forfeited in the event that the workers leave their job at Swissport. After deductions, the workers receive just £250 a month for their full time work. The large deposit prevents workers from transferring employment, essentially constituting a form of bonded labour.
The GMB has protested these conditions, Organiser Gary Pearce saying "GMB is asking Swissport to openly condemn the treatment of these migrant workers both at work and in their accommodation and to take them into direct employment with the company. In that way they will be entitled to the whole package of pay and conditions that GMB has negotiated for the directly employed workforce.
Self-employed people have the freedom to work where and when they want and so these workers are losing out on both fronts. They have no freedom to keep the money they earn nor the freedom to work and live where they want to.
If Swissport did this these workers could then afford to arrange their own accommodations and cut out the money deducted by the agencies that are taking a cut of everything they earn."