‘We get nothing’: Angry worker blasts Doncaster rail firm as staff are ‘laid off’

An angry worker has blasted a Doncaster rail firm after staff were reportedly ‘laid off’ during the coronavirus crisis.

By Darren Burke
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 10:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 11:24 am

Rail carriage refurbishment company Wabtec – which is based in Hexthorpe has reportedly laid off 40 workers – but without them being placed into the Government’s furlough job retention scheme.

The worker, who has declined to be named, said: “I work through an agency subcontracted to Wabtec so if I’m off, we get nothing – holiday days or sick pay.

“I feel I’ve got to work for us to survive financially. They are unwilling to protect the employees and do their bit to protect everyone in this crisis.

Wabtec in Doncaster.

“There are no masks available, no sanitizer, nothing in place to protect employees. I’ve been going to work everyday and putting our family at risk for a job that is not looking after them.”

“I have continued to go in despite everything happening and laid off with no warning and no option to furlough. I’ve worked there for 12 months working extra hours to support the business and so many are in the same boat when they were told more work would be coming after a site in Scotland closed.”

Last month, the firm announced the closure of its Kilmarnock plant, with work being ‘consolidated’ in Doncaster.

A Wabtec spokesman said that changes to working practices were rolled out to employees first.

A statement said: “Wabtec regularly reviews its sites, structure, products and services given the coronavirus outbreak to ensure the safety of the employees and support the essential operations of the transportation industry.

“When any changes are made that impact our workforce, including furloughs, those changes will be communicated to our employees and stakeholders first.”

Last month, angry workers hit out at the firm over unhygenic toilets and workers working in close proximity.

One said: “Wabtec Rail isn’t critical work to the efforts to contain and fight Covid-19 yet they are claiming to be key workers to the railway.

“The toilets are a state. Canteens and locker rooms full of men and no hand sanitizer on site.

“The company seem to be ignoring the issue and are playing with people’s lives.”