Tarnished Forth road crossing needs pay audit to restore confidence

Construction union UCATT are calling on the Scottish Government to conduct an urgent independent pay audit for worker’s operating on the Forth Crossing in order to reassert confidence that workers are being treated fairly.

UCATT made its call after workers operating for Portuguese sub-contractor Sosia Ltd told officials that joiners were being paid £7.67 an hour and labourers were receiving just £6.32. UCATT have not been able to secure payslip as the affected workers who are mainly from Southern Europe were scared of reprisals.

The Forth Crossing Bridge Company has denied these rates are being paid but has offered no evidence to support their assertions.

There are agreements in place that workers on the project should be paid in accordance with the Construction Joint Industry Council (CIJC) agreement. The minimum rates for workers under the agreement are £11.61 an hour for joiners and £8.73 for labourers. Workers are also entitled to increase overtime rates if more than 39 hours are worked in a week and should receive subsistence allowances if living away from home.

The Forth Road Crossing which is the Scottish Government’s premier infrastructure scheme has been beset with pay, employment and safety issues during its lifetime. Workers downed tools in 2015 due to the failure to properly pay backdated holiday pay. Only last month following a raid by immigration officials seven  workers from the Indian sub-continent were removed from the site for illegal working.

Steve Dillon, Regional Secretary for UCATT Scotland, said: “The Forth Crossing should be the jewel in the crown of the Scottish Government but it risks having its reputation permanently tarnished  as Scrooge bosses are being given free rein to exploit workers
“In order to restore confidence in the project the Scottish Government needs to urgently undertake an independent pay audit into the project which doesn’t just examine what workers are currently receiving but what companies have previously paid on the project.”

UCATT have written to Keith Brown MSP the Minister responsible for the project calling for an independent pay audit which will also investigate any deductions being made from the worker’s wages and whether these also break minimum wage legislation.

 

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