Unions join forces in ‘historic moment’ for construction workers
by Steve Sweeney
CONSTRUCTION union Ucatt is set to join forces with Unite to create one powerful union for the industry, it was announced yesterday.
Unite welcomed the move as “a historic moment for the construction industry” as it will see the “industrial muscle of all constructions workers double overnight.”
In announcing the merger, the unions said they were placing “bad bosses on notice” and, with a number of major infrastructure projects on the horizon, “construction workers will have a powerful voice in pressing for a joined-up industrial strategy, securing good-quality jobs and dramatically boosting the number of proper apprenticeships.”
The unions will use their joint expertise in tackling “bogus self-employment and stopping firms indulging in a race to the bottom by undercutting pay, terms and conditions.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “From January 2017, construction workers will for the first time have one united powerful union on their side at work.
“Bad bosses and construction firms employing sharp practices should beware. Our new combined industrial voice will be used to defend the rights of construction workers across the UK and to campaign for secure decent jobs which pay the rate for the job.
“I look forward to working with our new colleagues and welcoming Ucatt members into the Unite family. Together we will be strong progressive voice for Britain’s construction workers and their industry.”
Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “By joining with Unite, the industrial muscle of all construction workers will double overnight, which is good news for all members.
“Employers are going to have to get used to dealing with one voice and one union. They need to understand that shoddy and underhand practices including dismissing workers without warning, exploiting workers by paying them via agencies or umbrella companies and ignoring key safety laws will not be tolerated and will be exposed.”
The merger, which will take place on January 1 2017, was confirmed following an 85.5 per cent vote in favour by Ucatt members.