The Unite trade union has urged construction firms working on High Speed 2 (HS2) to employ workers directly, rather than through agencies.
Unite claims that “too many” construction workers are being employed through agencies. It says this ultimately results in lower rates of pay as agencies take a cut of their salaries.
Unite representatives and workers carried out a protest outside the Costain Skanska joint venture (CSJV) headquarters yesterday to coincide with the launch of the campaign. The CSJV is currently carrying out the southern area enabling works for HS2, mainly in the Euston area.
It comes after Department for Transport figures revealed HS2 Ltd spent £60.2M on agency staff in the last two year. These include specialist contractors, engineers and procurement experts who supplemented HS2 Ltd’s full time staff. The figures relate to the two-year period from July 2016 to July 2018.
In response, a HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “We have an agreement with the TUC demonstrating our commitment to working with the trade unions. By working together, we will build the new high-speed railway safely and create a diverse, inclusive and skilled workforce.”
A CSJV spokesperson added: “Bowercross Construction (BCL), is one of CSJV’s approved suppliers, who provide labour to some of our sites on the High Speed 2 enabling works programme. All BCL workers on our programme are paid via PAYE and receive full employment rights, which include a minimum of the London Living Wage, EU holiday and sick pay and welfare benefits.
“CSJV are keen to meet with Unite to discuss their concerns and have previously offered opportunities for them to meet our workers.”
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