UCATT welcomes move by Kirklees Council

UCATT umbrellaUCATT has welcomed the decision of Kirklees Council to outlaw umbrella companies.

The decision was made at a full council meeting following a presentation from UCATT Regional Organiser Mark Martin. The motion was passed by a margin of 46 to 14. While Labour councillors supported the motion several Conservative councillors spoke against the proposals.

UCATT regional secretary Rob Morris said: “We are delighted by the decision of Kirklees Council to outlaw umbrella companies, workers employed on council contracts now have the assurance that they will not be exploited by umbrella companies.”

UCATT has been campaigning to outlaw the use of umbrella companies since April 2014. The use of umbrella companies has been endemic in the industry since that point as construction companies have sought to find ways to avoid legal changes which require them to pay workers via PAYE.

Workers report that if they are forced to operate via an umbrella company they are far worse off and feel exploited.

The motion sets out that the council will:

  • Ensure that employment agencies and other employers engaged by the council are obliged to pay workers directly and not via umbrella companies or false self-employment.
  • The hourly rate agreed between a worker and an employer is the rate they are paid.
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses should be paid in addition to a worker’s hourly rate
  • Holiday pay should not be “rolled up” into the rate but paid as and when leave is taken.

UCATT in Yorkshire has been campaigning for all councils in the region to outlaw umbrella companies on their projects and the Kirklees decision is a significant boost for this campaign.

Rob Morris said: “Following the decision of Kirklees we will now redouble our efforts to ensure that more Yorkshire councils outlaw umbrella companies.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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