Self-employment pay row stops Tube station job

Grant Prior 7 years ago
Share

Work has been disrupted on a major London underground job as workers demand they are taken on directly rather than shunted into self-employment via payroll companies.

The Enquirer understands that electricians downed tools yesterday at NG Bailey’s Tottenham Court Road tube station rebuilding site.

The sparks are demanding they are taken on directly on full pay rates agreed under the JIB national agreement.

It is the highest-profile dispute to flare-up following the introduction of new laws to stamp-out false self-employment.

One source said: “The sparks want a full rate and they don’t want to be coerced into using payroll companies any more.

“This will spread like wildfire across sites and the main contractors and clients will have to go with it despite the 25% jump in labour costs.”

NG Bailey said: “NG Bailey can confirm that it is not in dispute with any agency or agency worker.

“The dispute is between the agencies and the agency workers as a result of the hastily introduced change in tax laws in the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget.

“This is an industry wide issue and it will take some time to transition the change, during which we will work closely with Unite the Union, agency providers and the workers themselves.

“NG Bailey welcomes the change and deeply believes in direct employment as it creates stability of the workforce, leading to improved safety, greater investment in on-going training and apprenticeships and, a more sustainable industry.

“However, there must be a recognition that the construction industry does require a degree of flexibility in labour resourcing, but that should not mean lower standards.

“Workers provided by reputable and professional agencies should expect to be treated fairly and on a par with their directly employed colleagues.”

Sparks working at Three Bridges Station in Crawley have also been taken on directly after refusing to work through a payroll firm operating as an umbrella company.

One site source said: “When the 35 agency electricians heard how their pay would fall via an umbrella arrangement they all demanded to be taken on direct at full JIB rates.”

A luxury residential job at the fit-out stage in west London has also seen the Unite union lead negotiations for the transfer of M&E workers to direct employment.

A Unite circular currently going round sites states: “Attempts to force workers into accepting payroll company status against your will should be strongly resisted.”

Electricians are in a stronger position because the JIB agreement is based on realistic hourly rates.

The Working Rule Agreement for general building workers contains much lower rates designed as a starting point for pay negotiations.

One source said: “Electrical contractors can’t go below the JIB rates if they take the lads back on the books.

“It’s a different story with the building agreement where the minimums are so low.”

The false self employment crackdown could see more than 200,000 construction workers move back onto PAYE.

A union source said: “The industry is  only just waking up to the huge implications of this.

“Payroll companies have spread like wildfire to become the norm on most sites.

“That’s just not going to happen anymore so you are seeing a 25% jump in labour rates on jobs that have already started then all the rows over who will pay for all this in future.”

 

Latest news

Construction output surge sees cost inflation hit record high

Buyers report rises in input costs hit near 25-year high as materials shortages bite
3 days ago

Fire at tower days before Grenfell-style cladding due to be removed

More than 40 people injured during blaze at 19-storey building
3 days ago

Firms shortlisted for £140m Havant reservoir

Balfour, Hochtief and Mackley/Jones JV hunt main reservoir package
3 days ago

Blackstone makes £1.2bn bid for St Modwen

Investment giant set to acquire big name developer
3 days ago

London Chalcots towers £100m reclad out to bid again

Camden Council hopes to let Swiss Cottage estate reclad before the end of this year
3 days ago

Balfour facing strike ballot over “insulting” pay offer

Industrial action ballot planned for workers on £1.5bn Central Rail System Alliance contract
4 days ago

Hill wins 142-home McArthurs Yard job in Bristol

Housing contractor bags first Bristol job at harbourside site
4 days ago

BarhaleDoosan to build organic waste water treatment works

Natural integrated wetland to be built at Clifton wastewater treatment works
3 days ago

London Nine Elms 12-storey office approved

Construction to start this summer at former Royal Mail site
3 days ago

Fresh price hike takes structural steel to £800 per tonne

Seventh price hike since last July sees steel sections rise by £50/t
4 days ago

Barratt problem concrete frames and cladding bill hits £163m

House builder sees demand and construction surge but legacy property charges rise
4 days ago

Materials shortages threatening pace of rebound

RICS survey reveals confidence running high but shortages could put brakes on recovery
4 days ago

Henry Boot rejigs senior management

New MDs appointed to head construction and plant operations
4 days ago

Procure Plus plans £1.3bn low carbon housing framework

Firms wanted to supply or fit solar panels and air and ground source heat pumps
4 days ago

Keltbray sells electrical engineering arm to management

MBO at Keltbray Lagan Power three years after contractor acquired majority stake in business
5 days ago

BAM awards £150m worth of Manchester arena packages

North West subcontractors win top billing at Co-op Live project
5 days ago

Contractor Kilnbridge sold to 800-staff ownership trust

Founder of £90m East London contractor sells to workforce trust
5 days ago

ISG chalks up £48m haul of school wins

Deals include a £12m pathfinder 'net zero' school in Bristol
5 days ago

Green light for £37m Dawlish train rockfall shelter

Work to start on 209m long track protection structure this August
5 days ago

Keltbray posts £9.4m loss due to Covid and restructuring

Specialist contractor confident about future with £25m net cash and £224m order book
6 days ago

Construction start date for £200m Basildon scheme

Work to start this autumn on Essex site being developed by Inland Homes and Homes England
5 days ago

New Buro Happold chief to double staff in six years

James Bruce aims rapidly to grow engineering consultant into a global player
6 days ago

Atkins raids Skanska for new finance director

Jo Jarman returns to consultant as new finance director
5 days ago

Kier wins £15m Braintree enterprise centre

Building work at Great Notley to start later this month
6 days ago

Big name concrete firms miss out on major HS2 deal

Skanska Costain Strabag JV awards major package to Kelly Formwork
6 days ago

Covid shakes-up Top 30 M&E contractors rankings

Several M&E firms grow despite 9% fall in revenue last year among top 30 specialists.
6 days ago

Bylor builds second Hinkley reactor shell a third faster

Next massive prefabricated steel ring section for reactor building lifted in by Big Carl
6 days ago

Plans in for 700-bed Nottingham student scheme

Next phase of The Island Quarter scheme submitted for approval
6 days ago

M Group rebrands Skanska highways arm as Milestone

New business launched as £50m takeover deal signed off
6 days ago

Henry Boot to start £110m Walsall logistics project

Remedial works to start at 620,000 sq ft Phoenix 10 logistics scheme
6 days ago

Contractor services