2% pay deal follows months of on-off negotiations. Employers agree to further talks covering workers from crane operators to roads maintenance

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After months of on-off negotiations, unions in the construction industry have have agreed an improved pay offer on behalf of 500,000 workers in the financially hard-hit sector.

Under the 12-month deal, employers on the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) agreed an improved pay offer of 2% on all basic pay rates January 2013.

Officials describe the offer as a significant improvement on the 1.6% offered by the employers a matter of weeks ago.

However, further rounds of talks will continue on pay levels in specific areas, including crane operators and roads maintenance.

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “This was the absolute minimum that construction workers were prepared to accept.

“Employers must understand that this is only the first step in addressing low pay.”

Earlier this month, official figures showed output in the construction sector has continued to slow, blamed largely on a dearth of new building in the social housing sector.

Unite national officer, John Allott, said: “This year’s pay deal must be the start of dealing with the low basic pay rates for many construction workers.

“It is essential that future pay awards begin to genuinely tackle the problem of low pay in order that the agreement is of value to both sides.”

Phil Davies, GMB national secretary, said; “The offer was the best that could be achieved under the present economic circumstances. Further pressure will need to be applied to improve pay in the future.”

As part of the pay deal, separate talks will continue to review pay rates for crane operators and plate layers as well as rules covering highway maintenance workers.

The CIJC has also agreed a new rule designed to end ‘rolled up’ holiday pay, a device where workers are paid a supplement which in practice prevents them from actually taking their holiday entitlement.

The practice was found by the European Court of Justice to breach principles of the EU Working Time Directive, but has continued because it is not specifically outlawed by the regulations.


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