Unite secures victory in HS2 overtime and holiday entitlement
10 April 2019
Unite, the construction union, has secured agreement ending the scandal of workers on HS2 being denied the correct overtime rates and deprived of the correct holiday entitlement.
On 26 March 2019 Unite reported that it had discovered workers on the government’s flagship HS2 development are being systematically denied their proper holiday entitlement and workers are losing over a hundred pounds a week in underpaid overtime pay.
Unite received multiple payslips from workers employed by labour supplier Bowercross Construction Ltd (BCL) on the enabling work being undertaken at Euston by the Costain/Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV), which reveals the denial of nationally agreed holiday entitlement and overtime rates.
Unite estimates that the failure to pay the correct overtime rates meant that workers were on average being underpaid by over £100 a week.
Following a meeting on 27 March with CSJV, the company has committed to immediately begin paying the correct overtime rates and to increase the holiday entitlement as set out in the ‘framework agreement’ which agreed between unions and HS2 in April 2016 to ensure good working relationships throughout the project.
CSJV has also committed to provide back pay to all the affected workers who have been underpaid on the site. Unite estimates that the back pay bill is in excess of £1 million.
Even with the victory on overtime and holiday entitlement serious issues remain on the troubled project. CSJV is still refusing Unite access to the canteen to freely speak to workers during their breaks. CSJV allege that a Unite officer speaking to workers during their breaks in the canteen would compromise their “health, safety and welfare”. Unite entirely refutes this suggestion and has challenged CSJV to provide evidence for its stance but it has been unable to do so.
Unite national officer Jerry Swain, said:
“…This is the second time that Unite has discovered serious problems with the CSJV contract. Since the overtime and holiday scandal was revealed, workers have come forward to raise fresh issues about pay, conditions, safety and welfare, with Unite...”
Full details can be found on Unite’s website.