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Construction unions reject joint council pay offer

10 Mar 16 Trades unions representing half a million construction workers have rejected the offer of a 3.5% pay rise spread over two years.

Pay talks for the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC), which covers the pay and conditions of around 500,000 construction workers, were held on Wednesday 9th March.

Unions representing workers employed under the largest collective agreement in the construction industry described the employers’ pay offer as ‘insulting’.

The unions – Ucatt, Unite and the GMB – expressed dismay that employers ruled out paying the London Living Wage in the capital. Currently the lowest paid workers in the agreement are paid nearly a pound an hour below the London Living Wage.

The offer confirms the position of the CIJC working rule agreement as the worst paying in the UK construction industry.

Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “To describe the union’s position as bitterly disappointed would be an understatement. This offer was spiteful and pathetic in its meanness. Union negotiators believe that the employers are effectively trying to undermine the agreement and that unless a realistic offer is made there is little point in holding further negotiations.”

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Unite national officer John Allott said: “The employers need to get real over this insulting pay offer which falls well short of the expectations of our members. The pittance on offer is out of kilter with the rest of the construction industry and fails to recognise the sacrifices workers made during the tough times. The employers need to stop using the agreement as a minimum and get the agreement into the 21st century.  A failure to make the agreement relevant and attractive to highly skilled construction workers could see people desert the industry and much needed young apprentices choose a different career.”

GMB national officer for construction Phil Whitehurst added: "The derisory two year deal of 3.5% overall has been unanimously rejected by GMB, Unite and UCATT and makes the trade union side wonder if this group of employers really want this agreement at all.

“In terms of remuneration, the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) working rule agreement is by far the worst agreement in the UK construction industry and these employers have now taken that to a pitiful race to the bottom.

“After many years of low pay rises and pay freezes, the Office for National Statistics’ average weekly earnings dataset shows a rise in construction earnings of around 6% for the year to September 2015. We request the employers come back with some realistic figures at our next meeting on 22nd March.”

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