“Turn up on site or else” – majors turn screw on subcontractors

Grant Prior 6 days ago
Share

Major contractors are threatening subbies with damages claims if they refuse to work during the coronavirus crisis.

The Enquirer has been contacted by scores of subcontractors accusing some Tier Ones of bullying as they threaten to put specialists on notice of delay and breach of contract.

While the majority of major contractors are trying to do the right thing in the current crisis in the face of huge pressure from clients – others are simply reverting to the bad old days of subbie bashing to protect their balance sheets.

One subcontractor said: “We don’t think the site we are on is safe and shouldn’t be operating.

“We made our position clear to the main contractor and they came back threatening us with breach of contract if we didn’t turn up as normal.

“To make matters even worse they have now returned our payment applications of recent months slashed to nearly nothing as they blatantly try to hold onto cash.”

Another subcontractor said: “The message from the Government is confusing but the message from some main contractors is clear – turn up or else.

“One big firm we are working for is adamant all its sites are open and if we don’t show up with a full complement of workers and materials they will put us on notice and hold us responsible for delays.

“It’s bullying at a time when the industry should be pulling together.”

The behaviour of some main contractors has saddened, but not surprised, industry veterans.

One said: “We’ve had years of these firms pretending they are great employers and care about their suppliers.

“Now as soon as a crisis hits they revert to type.

“They are forcing people to work on sites and trying to shaft anyone they can down the supply chain to hoard cash and it’s disgraceful to see.

“We all live in a very connected world now and everyone knows who the good guys and bad guys are in the industry at this time.

“The bad ones won’t be forgiven easily when this is all over.”

Latest news

Boris urged to save UK construction industry

Industry leaders demand tax breaks, retentions returned and quick payment from clients
7 hours ago

Laing O’Rourke cuts pay for 8,000 workers

Contractors confirms cuts of up to 30% as part of "war effort" during coronavirus crisis
6 hours ago

Free training cash offer extended to larger companies

CITB grants of up to £25,000 now available to bigger contractors
2 hours ago

Kier closes Reading office with over 40 job losses

Lack of pipeline work and cost-saving plan cited as reason for closure
12 hours ago

Amey pledges full pay for sick and self isolating workers

U-turn on statutory sick pay after claim workers faced wealth or health choice
12 hours ago

Taylor Wimpey cuts exec pay and bonuses

Board takes 30% pay cut and cancels today's 2% annual pay increase
11 hours ago

Secretary of State pays tribute to construction industry

Letter from Alok Sharma spells out current official government guidance on keeping sites open
1 day ago

Amey/McAlpine told to start M6 junction 19 job

Enabling works get underway on £50m Cheshire motorway junction
12 hours ago

Clugston and Covid 19 sink Leeds civils firm

Coronavirus contract termination with zero payment notice proves final straw for Oaklands
12 hours ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
2 years ago

Giant Battersea Power Station site shut until end of April

Client decides to extend work pause after discussions with Mace and McAlpine
12 hours ago

Coronavirus update for construction: Wednesday April 1

The latest advice and information from industry trade bodies
12 hours ago

Network Rail calls for fresh engineering ideas for tunnel upgrades

Hunt on for less disruptive solutions to upgrading ageing railway tunnels
12 hours ago

Police stops create more confusion for contractors

Sites can stay open but officers are trying to stop builders getting to work
2 days ago

William Hare chief executive dies after contracting coronavirus

David Hodgkiss was the grandson of steel company founder William Hare
2 days ago

Costain banks on critical projects to save 50% of revenue

Directors join ranks of firms taking 30% pay cut
1 day ago

Plans go in for £258m Birmingham resi tower

Moda submits 722 homes for rent plan as it looks beyond coronavirus epidemic
2 days ago

Coronavirus update for construction: Tuesday 31

The latest advice and information from industry trade bodies
1 day ago

BAM Construct restarts work on sites

Mace pauses all work for another week under "rolling suspension"
2 days ago

Hard hat cameras help sites keep working remotely

Technology helping contractors cope during coronavirus crisis
2 days ago

Laing O’Rourke top bosses take 30% pay cut

Around 90 senior directors will see salaries reduced
2 days ago

Kier cuts staff salaries by up to 20%

Salary cuts among 6,500 staff as core sites remain open, but Kier Living jobs closed
3 days ago

Police threaten to fine contractors on way to work

Willmott Dixon asks subcontractors and staff to carry letters to avoid fines
5 days ago

Taylor Woodrow return to profit lifts Vinci UK

Civils arm saw 13 of 17 projects it bid delayed or cancelled
2 days ago

JCB reopens factory to start building ventilators

Plant giant will fabricate steel control panel housings for Dyson designed ventilators
2 days ago

Steel and brickwork trade bodies take stand on Covid 19 safety

Trade bodies lead fight back against bullying main contractors and clients
3 days ago

£300m London new-build housing deal winners

Ardmore, Bouygues, Kier and Midgard win places for first time for £10m-plus schemes
3 days ago

Builders in cross-fire as some clients in Scotland fail to halt work

Contractors blame clients for not instructing work to stop
3 days ago

Unsafe cladding replacement work a priority to continue

Latest government coronavirus construction policy update
4 days ago

Live webinar for contractors interested in £600m power plant

Virtual procurement event for major north London project: Register now
3 days ago

Contractor services