Construction’s record pay deal sparks pay hike fears

Employers in the construction industry have agreed a record 23.3 per cent
basic pay rise for the industry’s workers.

The deal was agreed following talks between construction workers’ union
UCATT and the Construction Industry Joint Council representing main contractors
and smaller builders.

The pay increase will only affect workers who are paid at current industry
minimum pay levels.

It will mean a significant increase in basic pay – up from £7.30 an hour to
£9.00 an hour for craftspeople. The deal includes many other improvements to
workers’ conditions including safety and training.

It will also deliver an above-inflation increase in subsistence allowances
and introduce a contributory pension scheme. This will see employers putting in
£2.50 per week matched by employee contributions with scope to increase this
voluntarily to a maximum of £10 per week which would also be matched pound for
pound by employers.

Phil Harris, group HR director at construction company Birse Group, gave the
announcement a cautious welcome. "If this is what it takes to get more
people into the industry at the entry level, then this is a positive agreement.

"But most people working in construction are not on the minimum wage
and I would be concerned if it had a knock-on effect of increasing benchmark
pay across the industry," he said.

George Brumwell, general secretary of UCATT, was delighted with the deal.
"Employers have been worried about worsening skills shortages, but our
success is more than just that. People are beginning to realise bricklayers,
carpenters, scaffolders and all our other skills are more valuable to society
than lawyers and bankers, estate agents and politicians."

By Ben Willmott

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