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Boost for building workers

Charter for construction industry welcomed
Douglas Beattie, Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Firms that want to build in Liverpool will have to sign-up to a six-point charter designed to ensure that workers receive the minimum employment conditions.


Unite, Ucatt and the GMB drew up the charter as a means of stamping out ‘notorious’ industry practices, such as bogus self-employment schemes, on any construction site within the city limits.


The three unions will be signing the document, along with the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, at the mayoral office in the Cunard Building, the Pier Head at lunchtime tomorrow (Thursday 10 September).


Dangerous industry


The charter states: “It goes without saying that the health and safety of all workers is paramount. The construction industry is a dangerous industry and consequently we expect health & safety standards to be rigorously implemented and adhered to.


“We also expect welfare facilities for construction workers to be appropriate to the 21st century, such as toilets, mess, and drying facilities.”


The unions and the mayor point out that they are ‘acutely aware’ of the projected skill shortages that exist in all areas of the construction industry.


Proper apprenticeships


The charter adds: “This means expecting major contractors who have won work in our area to offer proper apprenticeships to the youth of the city.


“We also support other initiatives whose aim is to improve or expand the education and training of employers and employees engaged on construction projects across our city.


“Liverpool City Council is a ‘living wage’ employer and believes that workers should be fairly rewarded for their efforts.


“We also believe that all workers have the right to paid holidays, access to a sickness benefit scheme, a decent pension, accident compensation and the comfort of knowing that a death in service scheme is in operation.”


The city council has said it believes the trade unions play a vital role in creating a safe and productive worksite, and developing good industrial relations.


Welcome step


Commenting on the charter Bernard McAuley, Unite national officer for construction, said, “This is a most welcome step in the right direction, protecting the right of workers in this sector has been a long and remains an ongoing struggle.


“The charter deals with Liverpool of course, but we would like to see it taken up across the rest of the country in future,” he added.


“We will watch look closely at its implementation in Liverpool and Unite will continue to campaign for the improvement of health and safety standards, plus proper pay and training, for construction workers across the land.”



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