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Mon August 02 2021

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CITB furlough pay rumpus

24 Jun More than 100 employees employed by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have lodged a collective grievance over furlough pay.

Payroll numbers not adding up
Payroll numbers not adding up

Payroll problems have meant that some CITB staff have been paid too much furlough and some have been paid too little.

After months of complaining they’ve got their unions – Unite and GMB – involved.

At the beginning of the first lockdown in spring 2020, the CITB furloughed hundreds of employees on a full or partial basis, before gradually bringing most back later in the year. Under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS), employees expected to receive 80% of their salary while furloughed. However, between CITB and its payroll provider SSCL there were errors of both under and overpayments of salaries.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Robinson said: “For months the unions have been attempting to resolve these matters with the board. The overwhelming majority of CITB employees are salaried and see very little change in their pay from month to month.

“It should have been a simple task to ensure that employees pay whilst on furlough would be accurate. However some affected employees were paid in full whilst others received furlough rates of pay even though they were working or on holiday.

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“Even if we accept there were likely to be a few errors due to the communication challenges that working from home brings, the majority of CITB employees received the incorrect salary for months while on furlough. This debacle has led to underpayment and overpayments of salary going into hundreds of pounds.”

The situation has been made more complex as the CITB was also undertaking a staff reorganisation during this time, which has meant many affected workers now no longer work for the organisation.

Mark Robinson added: “As this has taken so long to resolve, dozens of former CITB employees have left as a result of the reorganisation programme not knowing whether they are owed or owe the CITB money.

“Remaining staff are deeply concerned that despite the relatively simple pay structure, the board cannot resolve these matters. As a result, CITB employees have today tabled a collective grievance requesting the board resolves this matter sooner, discounts any employee debt by up to £300 and reviews its relationship with its outsourcing contractors to ensure a far higher quality of payroll services for CITB employees.”

CITB people director Jennifer King recognises there had been a problem but is trying to get it fixed. “This has taken far longer than expected and we recognise the understandable concern it continues to cause colleagues,” she said. “The variety of different furlough arrangements mean that every day of every month for over 600 people is being checked to ensure accuracy. We are doing all we can to resolve this and are currently updating timelines and proposals to share with colleagues.”

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