Union members staged a protest in Newcastle today against low pay on construction sites.
The demonstration was organised by UCATT and is part of a national campaign demanding a living wage of £7.85 an hour – £9.15 in London – for its members in the building industry.
In Newcastle it targeted the employment agency Hayes Specialist Recruitment Ltd in Mosley Street which, it says, supplies construction workers at rates as low as £7.28 an hour.
Denis Doody, Regional Secretary for UCATT, said:
“The blight of low pay in the construction industry is despicable. Companies are making huge profits, while workers are forced to work long hours in highly physically demanding roles, in all weathers, for peanuts.
“Companies expect workers to work long hours and then at the end of a gruelling week they don’t pay them enough to live on. Until construction companies start ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work we will keep exposing their greed.”
UCATT says it is concerned that on some adverts Hays Recruitment insists that candidates for jobs must supply their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The union says this is contrary to the law which clearly states that this should be supplied by the employer, who has a duty to ensure it is adequate for the job, properly fitting and the worker has been properly trained.
Mr Doody added: “Agencies need to be brought to book on their legal requirements regarding safety in the construction industry. Thousands of workers are injured every year and a major factor is companies that ignore and bend safety rules.”
A Hays spokesperson commented:
“We take our responsibility to meet our requirements with regards to the pay and health and safety of our workers very seriously.
“Pay rates are determined by employers in line with the industry, legislation and the local market.
“We work closely with our clients and have strict processes in place to ensure that we comply with the necessary legislations.
“We are unable to comment further on specific vacancies.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 03 Jun 2015