BUILDERS demanded yesterday that they be included in a probe into bogus self-employment and agency labour that are “rife” in construction.
In a letter to Finanace Secretary Jane Ellison, the Ucatt union raised concerns over the use of umbrella and payroll companies and highlighted that most manual labour on construction sites is recruited entirely through employment agencies.
A specialist HMRC unit was launched last week amid the rise of the so-called “gig economy” where companies including delivery firms Hermes and Deliveroo are accused of denying workers basic employment rights by claiming that they are self-employed.
This is being challenged through what union GMB has described as the “employment law case of the year” as 19 drivers take taxi app developers Uber to a tribunal.
The ruling, due this week, would potentially see tens of thousands of drivers granted rights including holiday and sick pay.
Now Ucatt is demanding the unit investigates the construction industry too.
Acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “The practices that the new HMRC unit are examining exist throughout construction.
“The government’s committment to taking action is welcome. But we must avoid a situation where there is a crackdown in one sector of the economy while another is using the same practices but is untouched.”
Ms Ellison said that the government takes false self-employment “very seriously” and is committed to taking strong action where companies, to reduce their costs, force their staff down routes which deny them employment rights and benefits they are entitled to.”