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Crossrail JV moves to reassure workers

Crossrail protest

Contractors building Crossrail have moved to reassure staff they will get paid for all the hours they work, after a union highlighted a series of alleged worker complaints.

The Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (Ucatt) has called for an independent inquiry into the Crossrail tunnelling contract being undertaken by contractor ATC, which comprises Alstom, TSO and Costain.

Ucatt said that it has concerns over the amount of work members are asked to do and how far it falls within their skill set. The union has also claimed that the fingerprint recognition system at Crossrail’s Fisher Street site in Holborn has resulted in some workers not being paid for all the hours they have worked.

Other issues include claims that there is a walk of up to 3.2km to use toilet facilities and that canteen facilities are inadequate. Ucatt has not confirmed how many sites its concerns about toilet and canteen facilities covered.

ATC said its priorities are ensuring workers get paid for all of their work and that there is a safe working environment, but it is satisfied that worker safety and welfare levels are appropriate.

The contractor confirmed that the booking-in system has been fully investigated and, as a precaution, a dedicated timekeeper has been placed at the Fisher Street site to assist with any issues.

Regarding welfare, because of restrictions in some tunnels, ATC said it is working with other contractors nearby to enable the use of their toilets.

“ATC is working with Crossrail to ensure that we provide a safe working environment, with appropriate welfare facilities for our staff, who will be paid for the hours they work. This is a priority for us. We are working on a complex engineering and construction project which, at times, presents logistical constraints and challenges,” said an ATC spokesman.

“Through an open dialogue with colleagues, we take action to address and resolve challenges if and when they arise. We are satisfied that we are providing appropriate standards of health, safety and welfare and have recently put additional procedures in place to ensure correct pay is made. We would be happy to meet officials at any of our locations to demonstrate our standards of operation.”

New Civil Engineer also contacted Crossrail for a response.

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