Long-running talks between industry bosses and unions representing up to 500,000 workers reach impasse over pay offer worth as little as 13p an hour


Long-running talks between industry bosses and unions representing up to half a million construction workers have reached an impasse, after employers refused to move on a pay offer worth as little as 13p an hour.

(Pictured: construction of The Shard, London)

UCATT and Unite said the employers’ offer of an increase worth 17p an hour for craft workers and 13p an hour for general operatives, was derisory and insulting.

After previous meetings had stalled, union negotiators had hoped that talks on Tuesday would see employers on the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) make an improved offer.

However, the employers’ side made an offer of just 1.6%, citing ‘difficult economic conditions’.

The latest official statistics (see graph, below) show a drop in construction output in April 2012 of 8.5% on the same time last year.

The pay rise was to be deferred until January 2013 and was part of a 2-year deal with 0% being offered in the second year.

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “Construction workers are sick and tired of crocodile tears from the employers.

“Construction companies continue to make profits, directors get paid bonuses but workers aren’t paid enough to provide for themselves and their families. We have no option but to demand the employers reconsider this insulting offer.”

John Allott, national officer for Unite, said: “Employers are disgracefully asking construction workers to accept what is in real terms a pay cut.

“Bosses keep on demanding more work while thinking they can get away without paying a fair rate.

“Construction workers with bills to pay and families to feed are rightly angry and employers need to think again. We will be consulting with our members over the next steps in our campaign to get fair pay in line with the cost of living.”

Unions say growing anger among rank and file construction workers about the failure of the employers to make a reasonable offer was demonstrated by a large and vocal lobby which took place outside the pay talks.

The negotiating unions will now be considering their next steps.

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