Addison Lee accused of ‘pulling the wool’ over TPR’s eyes

Addison Lee has been accused of “pulling the wool” over The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) eyes regarding outstanding pension contributions it owes to its employees.

The union GMB has called on the firm to clarify when Project Tristar employees will receive the contributions, which the firm failed to deposit into employee pensions for seven months between February and August 2019.

GMB regional organiser, Steve Garelick, said that Addison Lee, which owns Project Tristar, were “pulling the wool over the eyes of their employees and TPR”.

He continued: "Following issues over Norovirus and members' concerns over pensions, GMB have tried to give the benefit of the doubt, however members are highly disappointed.

"When management disregard staff relations, concerns rise.”

Nest has reported Project Tristar to the regulator three times, following several reminders to the company that they either have not paid contributions to Nest on time or they failed to notify them that contributions weren't due to be paid, breaching their legal duty as an employer.

The owed contributions now total a minimum of £1,000 for each employee.

Responding, an Addison Lee spokesperson said: “Addison Lee Group apologises for any concern caused to its Tristar drivers as a result of any delayed pension contributions.

"We are working with our pension provider and the pension regulator to ensure this will be resolved by the end of September. We are keeping drivers informed of the situation.”

Addison Lee reportedly tried to reassure members in July that the failed payments were due to administrative delay by Nest and that the payments would be made imminently.

However, only one month’s worth of payments has been paid since then, despite board members of Addison Lee assuring that this issue is their number one priority.

Garelick added: "Whilst GMB sympathise with pressures in the industry caused by stagnation and rate reductions due to outside companies putting customer ahead of driver, when companies strip out staff to try offer a better financial proposition for potential buyers, thought needs to be given about the potential for damage to workers.

"In our opinion the ball has been dropped due to considerations of how potential purchasers or shareholders see returns.

"Returns of a company should be seen in human terms not just financial terms."

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