Staff were sent an email from the Executive Board yesterday outlining the contractor’s plans in the wake of the decision to shut most of its sites last week.
The message said: “As your Executive Board we are clear that our priority is to look after our people and their future prospects as best we can and to do this we need to protect the business and its long-term viability.
“Many of our projects are currently closed because we don’t feel we can operate in accordance with the Construction Leadership Council’s guidelines, which are focussed on keeping people safe.
“However, we are reviewing each project to see what meaningful activities we can undertake and action daily.
“With many of our sites now shut or on limited activities, the business is generating significantly less income.
“This means that despite our previously strong cash position, if we don’t act quickly, we will run out of cash before this pandemic is over, putting our business at risk.
“Our aim is to ensure jobs are preserved in the long term, and as a business employing nearly 2,000 people, our biggest cost is our salary bill.
“As a result, it is with very heavy hearts that the Partners and Executive Board have agreed that in order to protect jobs in the long term we will need to use the help available to us through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).”
The scheme pays furloughed workers 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
The email continued: “This is the best opportunity we have to protect jobs and the business.
“As such, aside from the people we will need to remain active in post or ‘retained’ during this crisis, all remaining roles in the business will be furloughed.
“We know this is painful and not what anyone wants to hear, but the more decisively we act now, the better the outcome for the business and its people in the long-term.”
People retained as active workers in the business will be asked to take a 20% pay cut while the Executive Board and Senior Leadership Team will take a 40% pay cut.
Staff will be told whether they will be retained or furloughed by next Monday.
McAlpine added: “The Covid-19 situation changes rapidly and please rest assured that we will be making decisions quickly and endeavouring to reopen sites as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Our aim is to get as many of you as possible back working full-time as soon as we can.
“We will be reviewing all decisions relating to furlough and pay on a month by month basis and as soon as we can open our sites and return to fully operational status, we will.”
Another earlier internal email from chairman Edward McAlpine, also seen by the Enquirer, said: “Our goal is to ensure that we manage the business in a way that we come out the other side of this storm and continue trading.
“To that end, we will be asking each and every one of you to join us in making exceptional and difficult decisions.
“The thoughts of the McAlpine family are with you and your loved ones at this very difficult time. God bless you, please stay safe and look after each other.”