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Collective action on working hours

Letters

Students do not join civil engineering courses because their skills are more easily demonstrated elsewhere. On graduating, many head for more attractive careers.

Those remaining in the profession are overworked and underpaid, while employers complain about fee levels.

To deal with this, the ACE calls for the return of fee scales (NCE 17 January), contrary to government policy, while the ICE seeks a government lead in promoting 'value over lowest price', contrary to the policy of most private clients.

Lawyers and accountants know that realistic fees are incompatible with staff working regular unpaid hours, which distorts and depresses the whole salary structure. Isolated individuals may feel vulnerable, weakening resistance to employer demands for additional commitment.

An answer to this would be to follow the lead of the clergy, and get collective protection.

This would make the resources available to ensure engineers have their employment rights respected, while fees will be forced up across the industry.

Employers and the ICE might not like it, but the current vacuum will be filled.

Alex Perry (M) perrya@apci. com

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