London and South East Region Update December 2014

UCATT London and South East Region in national day of action against umbrella companies

UCATT London and South East Region activists and organisers demonstrated outside the Lend Lease development in Victoria on Wednesday 26th November as part of a national day of action in protest at construction workers being forced to work via umbrella companies. Being paid through an umbrella company is costing workers up to £100 a week and the problem of workers being exploited by umbrella companies is now endemic across London.

“Workers are being ripped off by the umbrella company con-trick and they are now struggling to make ends meet. It is disgraceful how employers can get away with exploiting construction workers in this way,” said UCATT London & South East Regional Secretary Jerry Swain. “Workers are given no choice, either they work via an umbrella company, or they don’t work at all. The Government must step in and crackdown on this exploitation.”

The demonstration was followed by a lobby of Parliament and a meeting of Labour MPs and trade union leaders including UCATT General Secretary Steve Murphy.

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UCATT London & South East Regional Secretary Jerry Swain (second from right) and Regional organisers Vince McCoy (third from left) and Mark Soave (front right) with UCATT activists demonstrating against umbrella companies outside the Lend Lease development in Victoria

(See more photographs of the demonstrations around the country at: https://www.ucatt.org.uk/umbrella-company-day-action)

UCATT wins 14%-plus pay rise for crane drivers following strike action at HCT Plant Ltd

UCATT crane drivers employed by HTC Plant Ltd agreed a new pay offer and called off a further round of strike action due to take place at the end of November. The three year pay deal is worth over 14% on basic rates. The new agreement also means that the bonus rate has been consolidated into the basic rate and a further raft of expenses and allowances, which workers previously enjoyed, have been reinstated.  The crane drivers took a day of strike action on 7 November bringing many of London’s high profile sites to a standstill.

Strike action in NHS pay dispute continues

UCATT members working in NHS hospitals across the capital took part in the latest round of strike action in their ongoing pay dispute after the government failed to honour the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendation that all NHS staff should receive a 1% increase in pay. Eleven trade unions representing NHS workers including nurses, midwives, cleaners, pharmacists, scientists, porters, secretaries, paramedics, occupational therapists, radiographers, dieticians, healthcare assistants, kitchen and maintenance staff staged a four-hour stoppage in the morning on Monday 24 November 2014.

Demonstration outside the Maudsley Hospital

UCATT members on strike outside the Maudsley Hospital in south London

Call for more UCATT safety reps

UCATT’s latest Stage 1 Health and Safety course got underway at the union’s head office last month. London and South East Regional Secretary Jerry Swain is urging more UCATT members to take on the role of safety rep.

“This is a priority for our Region as we move into the New Year and our organisers will be pushing hard for more UCATT safety reps,” he said. "The Region is committed to ensuring all safety reps receive adequate training."

If you are interested in becoming a UCATT safety rep and want to find out more about the training on offer, please contact the Regional Office on 020 7622 2362.

Southwark Council’s new apprentices sign up to UCATT

Eight new craft apprentices who recently began “earning while learning”  at Southwark Council have all joined the union after Southwark Council UCATT Convenor Neil Tasker and Shop Steward Julie Phipps and London and South East Regional Organiser Mark Soave met them as part of their induction. The union has recently reduced its subs for apprentices to as little as 50p per week.

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Craft apprentices at Southwark with UCATT Regional Organiser Mark Soave (left), Convenor Neil Tasker (third from left) and Shop Steward Julie Phipps (right)

Holiday pay claims lodged

Following a recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) decision that overtime should be included in calculating workers’ holiday pay, the Region has submitted more than 300 claims to the ACAS “early conciliation” process on behalf of members.

Region hosts Norwegian delegation

The London and South East Region recently hosted a 20-strong delegation from the Norwegian construction trade unions. They were interested in finding out more about how UK construction unions organise and how they work jointly with employers to improve safety and UCATT London & South East Regional Secretary Jerry Swain presented UCATT’s work in these areas.

“The visit gave us the opportunity to find out more about how our counterparts organise in different parts of the world. We were all able to learn something and share examples of best practice,” he said.

Following the presentation the delegation visited a major development in the City of London accompanied by UCATT Regional Organiser Andy Rudd and UCATT Convenor Lee Dove.

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