£80 million Hills family firm must open books on £105 million Wiltshire County Council waste contract says GMB
Hills Group plead poverty, but dished out nearly £10 million in dividends during past five years says GMB
GMB, the trade union for the striking refuse and recycling workers across Wiltshire, calls on the Hills family to open up the books on their council waste contract.
Hills, which employs the refuse workers currently engaged in a two-week strike across Wiltshire, has a contract worth £105m over nine years with Wiltshire County Council.
GMB says it is essential that the Hills family firm provide the union and its members access to the line-by-line management accounts.
The latest company accounts for the Hills group show a massive income, which has provided a dividend of over £9.8 million over the past five years to the Hills family, who make up the majority of the board of directors and shareholders.
Shareholder funds during the same period are £80 million.
Nicky Nixon, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “To enable GMB and its members to understand the economics of the contract it is essential that the company opens the books to the union.
“This means access to the line-by-line management accounts for the contact. The money involved is all public money.
“Despite pleading poverty, GMB research shows that the Hills Group is in receipt of £530 million of contracts with an estimated annual value of £34.7 million - just under 10 per cent of Wiltshire Council’s total annual spend.
“The provision of household and commercial waste collection contract alone is worth an estimated £105 million over nine years.
“GMB is asking, with such a huge amount of money paid to the Hills group by Wiltshire Council, why it cannot afford to pay its workers a pay rise in line with cost of living increases and market rates?
“Hills has more than half a billion pounds worth of council contracts, paid for from the public purse.
“Our members are simply asking for a pay rise in line with the cost of living and with market rates.
“Hills say they cannot afford to do this, so GMB would be very interested in seeing the accounts which prove this.
“If Hills are in fact not making any profit from their Wiltshire Council contracts, perhaps they should look at returning them to local authority control.”