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Jefferson1228

Weird Situation

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Good morning to you all,

Probably the weirdest question on here, but I reversed into someone’s wall while driving a rigid carrying cargo. The lorry had suffered a turbo failure so I called base. Nothing they could do, just keep driving for the time being. Went up a small incline and Black/white smoke started pouring out of the exhaust pipe. It was so thick I couldn’t see the bus behind me. I pulled into a wide driveway but my back end was still in the road, so I reversed to straighten out and then shunted forwards.

I got out and saw I had taken the wall down. Notified the homeowner and he estimates the damage at up to £3,000+ all in. Now, my firm’s manager said I’ll be paying for the wall. Sure, I hold my hands up to the fact I damaged someone’s property, but I just haven’t got thousands stashed in the bank. Isn’t that what insurance is for? At the moment, all I was told was that the insurance excess won’t pay for the wall.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

C8B1893B-C15C-4819-8EF7-C390EA5F097F.jpeg

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Oops! Been there, done that! Not a nice feeling BUT walls can be rebuilt, people can't :wink:

 

Depending on your contract your employer CAN'T withhold wages you haven't agreed to. Ask me how I know! :rolleyes: :biggrin: 

 

Have a look at the ACAS website, lots of the right advice there, not just folks opinions. 

 

http://m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4125

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£3k for that?!?! he's taking you for a joyride! Get your own independent builder or whatever to take a look for you so you know you're not getting ripped off, looking at the picture their is not £3k of damage there at all. 

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I agree, it's a totally unrealistic quote BUT that's not the issue here. Unless his contract specifically mentions paying for damages the OP shouldn't be paying for it! 

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Thanks for the serious replies with a tad of humour and the web link. I’ve calmed down and laid my options on the table now. Right, the homeowner did say that he’d be lying if he gave me any price because he’s not a bricklayer himself. The whole lot (including a lot more wall off photo) cost him £25,000 as it’s a special type of brick, has a tile lip under the top layer of bricks and all the mortar between the bricks have been meticulously rounded off into an outward concave. He also said the bricklayer has done good deals for him in the past so it would most likely be less than £3,000. Maybe £1,500 or so.

The Manager brought me into the office and said the insurance excess won’t cover the cost of the wall so I will have to pay for it. I asked about the company insurance and he said if they do that, their premiums would rise! I wish I had the cheek to say “that’s the cost of business”, but I wasn’t in a state of mind to backchat as he could sack me there and then. He also said “If you stay here… we’ll have to do something about your wages. Take a bit out each week to cover the cost” and when I asked him what he meant about me staying with the company because I wasn’t planning to leave, he simply said “I was talking about sacking you. That would be up to me, not you”.

Now, the wall isn’t the issue. The owner was okay about it to a certain extent. He was just concerned about it looking disgusting and wanting it rectified ASAP. Which is understandable. We even just chatted about each other’s lifestyles, cars, large vehicles etc until the NYR truck came to recover the lorry. We shook hands when we parted so there are no hard feeling there. My main concern is that I’m on holiday at the moment until the end of the month. My pay has been reduced this week by £50 as well without my written or verbal consent which I believe is illegal. I wouldn’t be in this situation if I hadn’t have been instructed to continue either, but I can’t really say that in defence as I backed into the guy’s wall myself.

Some employees have even said that’s bad practice coming from the manager… others have had worse knocks causing a couple of grands worth of damage to other vehicles and the company vehicles and not been threatened with dismissal. I’m on full pay over my holiday, so if I see next Friday that my pay had yet again been deducted, I’ll call them when I return to the UK next Monday (I’ll still have a few days of holiday after I return) and ask what’s going on because I can’t survive long term on reduced pay. I have rent and bills to pay for a start. If they’re not playing ball, should I get legal with the company? I did have to fill out an insurance form so I assumed they were going to go through with that option, but pay was deducted nevertheless without my consent. And if I decide to hand my notice in because of the behaviour of the manager and they don’t give me my last week-in-hand pay, that’s illegal too, withholding wages? I haven’t signed anything upon employment about this so I’m pretty sure I have many legs to stand on. Are there any tactics they’d try to pull I should be aware of?

Thanks again.

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Short answer. In the link I gave you, read the first paragraph and the 3 bullet points. AFAIK none of the criteria are met, therefore it is illegal to withhold some of your wages.

 

I would advise you to contact ACAS and discuss it with them. What you choose to do after that is up to you and you alone. 

 

You and I both know he can't fire you for this incident but could quite easily make you redundant due to 'a downturn in business' and hire a new driver the week after. Would he do this? I don't know. 

 

If you did carry on working for him and, God forbid, something else happened, would he start taking even more money off you? 

 

Speak to ACAS 😉

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AFAIK, I didn’t sign any papers dictating that my wages can be cut/withheld in the event of something happening, so there’s that I can use against them, but I will try to resolve the matter internally first. I will also request a copy of everything I signed upon employment.

It’s a small company. Two owners who are brothers (let’s call them Bill and Ben), the manager, a couple of office workers and around ten drivers. The manager is pretty much the ‘spokesman’ of Bill who works in the office with him. Anything related to incidents or employees, he tends to not want to get involved and leaves it up to the manager to decide. I assume he also has influence on Bill to make decisions he might not agree on since he’s quite forward and can be manipulating at times. Bill is the one who deals with drivers’ pay and despite the manager’s assumed manipulation, he’s ultimately the one who pressed enter on the keyboard dictating my pay, minus £50. I’d hate to be in the bad books of the company if I do go down the legal route, but I rely heavily on that income and can’t withstand reduced pay like this.

If I did keep working for them and had another knock, they could fairly dismiss me depending on the situation. I’m not a glutton for accidents and this is my first fault accident in years… first time at this particular company. I am, however, in a situation where drivers of my caliber, just like my colleagues, are in short supply. Many companies pay more than where I am now but I stick here because of the work environment and friendly close family business atmosphere. It would be no more than water off a duck’s back to me if they decide to lay me off one way or another, but they’re short on drivers too so may not be so keen. Only time will tell. I have also heard from veteran employees here that since the manager started, he made various cuts, especially to driver benefits and more, causing some of them to leave.

Again, thanks for the info and the link. I will see what my pay is on Friday and contact the office if the same discrepancies are there.

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Stuff like this infuriates me with companies. It wouldn't have happened if the truck hadn't failed and you were told to continue. I had to pay for a company smart phone last year that had been stolen. Some companies are ruthless and don't really care despite what they may say.

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Would the Citizens Advice Bureau be of any use? I’m not familiar with ACAS so don’t know how easy they are to access.

Aside from motor vehicle insurance I’m sure the company will have public liability insurance too. I wonder if they are obliged to use one of their policies, and that being the case the excess should be less than the cost of repair. So while they may ask you to come to some sort of arrangement to part cover the excess with them, they cannot expect you to contribute to potential rises in future policies.

Hopefully a satisfactory resolution will be found quickly for you.


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