Recently, a former painter and decorator has been reported to have removed the wheels from his work van over unpaid wages.

Working for the first two weeks of July as a cleaner in Tesco stores, Delroy Cauchi was employed by Mitie cleaning. Overall, Mr Cauchi worked one hundred and sixty-seven hours. However, the company only paid him for one hundred of these hours claiming that they “didn’t have enough money in their budget” to pay him the rest.

In response to this, Mr Cauchi decided to remove the wheels from his van. Alongside this, he also placed posters in the windows. They stated: “I have no issue giving your van back as long as I am paid the wages I have worked for.”

He described to the Plymouth Herald: “I’ve been working with Mitie for six years now.”

“There have always been pay issues – I didn’t get holiday pay one year.”

“It’s destroyed my relationship.”

Since he was told that he wasn’t going to be paid for the sixty-seven owed hours, Mr Cauchi has apparently tried to contact the company via several different means including speaking to his line manager, filing a grievance with Mitie themselves and calling the company head office.

However, these attempts at communication have apparently brought about no success. So, instead, Mr Cauchi claimed that he took further action after feeling that he was not being listened to by the company.

However, Mitie has claimed that they have attempted to get in contact with the worker, without success. A spokesperson for the company stated: “We have tried to contact Mr Cauchi on a number of occasions about the investigation relating to the grievance he raised.”

“To date, we have received no response but would be happy to discuss this with him directly in order to resolve this as soon as possible.”

Mr Cauchi argues though, “I worked 167 hours in total over two weeks and my line manager basically said there isn’t enough money in the budget to pay you.”

“They said I shouldn’t have gone over my contract of 40 hours a week, but I said I had to because I’m required to find staff to cover if someone is off sick, on holiday, or just don’t bother to turn up – which happens quite a lot.”

“The buck stops with me so if I can’t find anyone I have to work it.”

“There is no support around you to help deal with that.”

He described: “First of all, I was told I would have a letter which I never received.”

“I then had an email from my line manager saying, ‘Are you attending this meeting tomorrow?’. It was at Lee Mill and I replied that number one, you have to give me more than 24 hours notice and, two, it needs to be closer to home – I wasn’t working for them anymore so I couldn’t use the van.”

“My line manager said he would sort it out and he never did.”

He continued: “Basically what I’ve asked them for is the tracker in the van which logs when I started and when I finished every day.”

“But Mitie won’t provide me with anything.”

“I don’t expect them to pay me for lunch or the two to three smoking breaks I take every day.”

According to Mr Cauchi, these issues have also had an impact on his personal life too. Specifically, he believes that the ongoing problems with the cleaning company resulted in the breakdown of his six-year relationship with the mother of his two children.

He stated: “People are too scared of losing their jobs to complain.”

“I need to show my ex-partner that I’m not going to be messed around by this company anymore.”

Currently, Mr Cauchi still has possession of the keys for the van in question. However, Mitie has collected the van itself. No longer working for the company though, Delroy Cauchi has returned to his previous profession as a painter and decorator.

He described his work ethic: “I try to go the extra mile wherever I work.”

“I was a builder for 14 years and Mitie seemed like the right change of career when I started.”

“I’m no longer angry and I don’t carry any resentment.”

“I’ve got no issues with them taking the van, I just want to be paid.”

Mr Cauchi isn’t the only tradesman to have taken action in this manner either. A decorator even destroyed his own work after he was left out of pocket by customers. Take a look at the full report here.

It’s not just the odd payment tradesmen are missing out on either. According to research, builders are actually owed billions due to late payments. Take a look at the full statistics here.

So what do you think of this? What would you do in this situation? Let us know in the comments below.


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