This Morning viewers divided as business-owner claims staff are 'abusing' the furlough system

8 June 2020, 11:38 | Updated: 9 June 2020, 11:23

Charlie Mullins - the owner of Pimlico Plumbers - appeared on This Morning earlier today.

A business-owner has claimed that some his furloughed employees are 'abusing' the system by refusing to come to back to work.

Charlie Mullins - who owns London-based Pimlico Plumbers - told Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield that he plans to let go of some of his employees who are asking not to return to work.

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Revealing that 90 of his 300 PAYE staff are on furlough, Mr Mullins said: "Within five minutes of us explaining to them that the government is now paying 80 per cent of their wages, they were out of the door within five minutes.

Mr Mullins slammed employees who 'abused' the system
Mr Mullins slammed employees who 'abused' the system. Picture: ITV

"There was no reason to go, they didn’t have the health issues, they didn’t have vulnerable people at home. All they were interested was getting money for nothing. They’re the same people that have been back on to some of their line managers and said we don’t want to come back, we want to stay on the furlough, and I think it’s totally incorrect."

When Phillip pointed out that these people are following the rules and not doing anything wrong, Charlie retorted: "You say it’s the rules, but we are classed as essential workers. The business carried on doing emergency work, we’ve done a lot of work for the NHS that we didn’t charge for.

"We could have done with more people in the business that were safe to come in. I’m just saying the people that have to be on it, of course they have to be on it. But we’ve had a lot of people who’ve abused it. I’ve had a lot of companies come onto me at the weekend saying they totally agree.

Holly and Phil were confused about some of his points
Holly and Phil were confused about some of his points. Picture: ITV

He added: "we shouldn't sit back and allow people to abuse it. We are the ones who are paying it, the tax-payers money that could have gone toward the NHS."

Holly then suggested that it's hard to prove someone is abusing the system, adding: "the government have said it’s your decision whether you feel safe enough to go back into work."

Charlie then said: "You say I’m going to sack them - they don’t want to come back, and we don’t want them back. We’ve put in all the measures that we need to - hygienic things we have to do, social distancing, we laid on food for them, parking for them, gave them a bonus.



Charlie said he 'doesn't want' some furlough staff back
Charlie said he 'doesn't want' some furloughed staff back. Picture: ITV

He then claimed that the same people who 'ran out' the office are the same that go to the beach at the weekend and sit in beer gardens, and later added: "We don’t want people back who have abused the system. We’ve had people ring their line managers asking to stay on it, that’s not how it should be."

At the end of the interview, Phillip said: "So what you’re saying then is that if anyone is watching this and you’re on furlough and you’re lazy then don’t expect to have a job to go back to?"

Charlie agreed, saying: "yeah, if you want. I’ll agree with you on that. The people that have to be on it have to be on it, the people who are taking the Mickey out of it should not be on it."

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Many viewers took to Twitter to disagree with Charlie, with one saying: "I'm on #furlough I'm angry at this man because he sows seeds to shoe at work to be resentful of us at home. I'm so angry".

Another added: "Boss of Pimlico Plumbers on #ThisMorning giving out to his employees on national tele saying they are abusing furlough and not wanting to come back. Errr, you’re the boss, you had to request them to go on furlough and you can call them back...absolute tool!"

However, some agreed with his points, with one writing: "Guy on #ThisMorning saying it as it is. Well done."

Another added: Agree with Charlie Mullins of @PimlicoPlumbers that people are abusing the furlough scheme. I know of many furloughed people who have been flouting lockdown rules & not social distancing but wont/don’t want to work. Where’s your damn work ethic? #ThisMorning".

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