Hugh Facey urges bosses to play fair

Sheffield manufacturer Gripple pays workers a £20,000 minimum wage, is employee-owned, pays into a non-contributory pension and offers life and private health cover - and it's just had it's best year ever.

Friday, 22nd January 2016, 5:11 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2016, 5:24 pm
Hugh Facey launches the Fair Employer Charter at Gripple at the Old West Gun Works on Savile Street East, Sheffield

Coincidence? The opposite, says boss Hugh Facey.

“It is absolutely down to that. Staff are the be all and end all. How you treat them is how your business will fare.

“If you treat with integrity, decency, honesty and openness you will get that reaction back. If you treat them like peasants you won’t.”

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Gripple, which makes a wire joining device, employs 500 - including 100 in Chicago, 100 in Europe and 20 in India - and just missed £50m turnover in 2015.

Export is 86 per cent of trade.

Mr Facey was speaking at the launch of the Fair Employer Charter in Sheffield.

Developed by Gripple, Sheffield Chamber and the Our Fair City Campaign, it encourages firms to adopt fairer practices.

Mr Facey added: “I encourage firms to sign up to the Charter.

“If you trust staff and give them the best it will always pay off.

“The Living Wage is a minimum - you can always afford to pay more than that.”

The firm is also a member of the Employee Ownership Association, which now has almost 300 members.

After a year at Gripple, workers have to buy £1,000 of shares in the business.

Mr Facey added: “It makes people committed. If someone is not working the others don’t tolerate shirkers.

“We don’t have a buying department, staff decide themselves whether to buy things for the business and they are always seeking ways to improve the business - and they do it all the time.”

Under the Charter, employers have to instil a culture of fairness, engagement, accountability and enjoyment, aspire to exceed the recognised living wage and commit to excellent working conditions.

n Mr Facey, who has ‘Yorkshire’ written in the vertical stripes on his suit, joked: “You can always tell a Yorkshireman - but not a lot.”