More than 100 Leyland workers have staged a mass walk-out in protest over claims they have not been paid for up to six weeks.
Furious workers at a call centre – which opened in the town to boost the local economy in October – have refused to turn up for work this week, claiming that last Friday was ‘the final straw’.
A number of whistle-blowers contacted the Guardian on Monday, claiming that Creative Lead Finder, which opened as Ultra Energy in King’s Court, King Street, just seven months ago, has not paid them properly for more than a month.
Managers at the firm have refused to comment.
But one woman, who did not want to be named, said: “I think it’s disgusting. People have families and children to look after.
“I know of some people who came off benefits for a job here, and now they’re not getting any money.
“Another worker has turned to pay-day loans, and everyone’s frightened to death that they just won’t get paid.
“We’re all refusing to go back until we get paid, but I can’t see it happening.”
The employee, who said she hasn’t been paid for four weeks, added: “I have to go to the dole office now, which I’ve never done before, but I don’t even know if I’m entitled to benefits because I haven’t actually been made redundant.
“The company said they would feed us a bit of money each week, but obviously they can’t pay our wages properly and it’s not good enough.
“We have been loyally coming into work for weeks, being told we were going to get paid one day and then the next, and apprehensively checking our bank accounts to see if any money had been coming in.
“Friday was the final straw, and everybody walked out.”
Another worker claims she hasn’t been paid her wages for six weeks, and says she wishes she had never got the job in the first place.
The mother said: “The company came here and said it was going to turn Leyland around and create jobs in the area, and now this has happened.
“The wages were always a couple of days late, and we went from being paid weekly to fortnightly.
“I’ve only been paid £200 in the last six weeks, because they said they would pay us everything we’re owed in dribs and drabs.
“The last thing we heard was that we were going to get the money on Friday, and then Saturday, but it’s not there.
“I’m sick of being a slave for them. We’ve all got bills to pay. How can they treat us like this?
“Nobody knows where we stand and we’ve got children to feed. I was on benefits for a couple of years but I wanted to work to better myself.
“I started here earlier this year, and now I’m worse off than before.
“I wish I’d never got the job.”
The firm, a renewable energy company specialising in solar energy, said in the Guardian in October that it wanted to help transform Leyland into a high employment town.
Another anonymous worker told the paper: “I started when the company first came to Leyland, but I left because of the wages situation.
“I got another job but then ended up coming back here, and I haven’t been paid more than £50 in the last six weeks.
“I’ve been to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and a local councillor for support, and I’ve been told to seek legal advice.”
The company was still running from the King’s Court base when the Guardian visited yesterday (Monday) but was told there was nobody in management available to comment on the issue.
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