20 Days Remaining

Friday 4th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

CONSTRUCTION workers warned bosses yesterday of future protests against using overseas labour to undercut national pay agreements at a major project in Teesside.

Members of unions GMB and Unite have been protesting at construction sites across Britain, demanding companies pay agreed rates — whether they employ overseas or local workers.

Employees in north-east England fear that bosses will undercut pay agreement for work on a £175 million energy waste project in Port Clarence in Teesside.

The project is being financed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, the investment arm of Pension Danmark and the work is being undertaken by Babcock and Wilcox Volund, also a Danish-based company.

Ironically the undercutting would be illegal if the organisations implemented it in Denmark.

Some project contractors are only paying the national minimum wage of £7.50 an hour, say Unite and the GMB.

Under a current national agreement for the construction industry the standard wage should be £16.97 an hour alongside an hourly bonus of £2.37.

Representatives from Unite and GMB are to meet senior members of Pension Danmark on Monday next week, including Danish trade unionists who sit on the board of Pension Danmark.

Unite regional official Steve Cason said: “Workers on Teesside are angry and frustrated that the companies involved in the Port Clarence project are frequently ignoring skilled local workers in recruiting for this project.”

He warned that “further protests are inevitable” as the union considers balloting members over the failure of contractors to enforce correct pay rates.

GMB national construction officer Phil Whitehurst said: “We will be back again and again until these companies get the message that what they are doing is not right.”