Representatives of Ucatt, Unite and GMB met with employers’ representatives on the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) this week to thrash out a pay deal. Approximately 500,000 workers are covered by some aspect of the CIJC agreement.
Since 2008 workers covered by the CIJC have seen their pay fall by 12% in real terms, the unions say. The multi-year pay offer to September 2016 of 4.5% put forward by employers this week represented a further cut in wages in real terms, the unions argued, even though industry growth is widely forecast. They accused employers of treating workers with disrespect and derision.
Pay rates for construction workers working under the CIJC are already lower than the other major industrial agreements in the construction industry, the unions say.
Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Employers are treating their workers with derision and disrespect with an offer which would further cut workers’ pay in real terms. Workers are angry and will no longer accept poverty pay. The employers must make a realistic offer when talks resume.”
Unite national officer for construction John Allott said: “Our members will be furious that the employers are offering them a pay cut in real terms. Construction workers are already struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living and paying their bills. This pay offer does nothing to reward our members’ contribution and we believe that the employers are able to offer more.”
GMB national officer for construction Phil Whitehurst added: “The offer put on the table by the employers shows utter contempt for their employees, this attempt after pay freezes and low settlements in the past, to embark further in the race to the bottom on wages, terms and conditions for our members, has been derailed. Construction workers will no longer accept any more crumbs off the employers table.”
Pay talks are scheduled to resume in November.