North Lanarkshire Council to implement Construction Charter

CONSTRUCTION firms planning to work on North Lanarkshire Council build projects will need to agree to a four-point charter to protect worker rights and improve industry practices.

Council leader Jim Logue has cemented links with trade union, Unite, to take forward the North Lanarkshire Council Construction Charter, which will be drawn up by the council and Unite.

The four key principles that firms must comply with are:

  • Health and Safety – including regulations and standards are rigorously adhered to
  • Employment Standards – to improve skills and employment opportunities
  • Pay and Benefits – minimum Living Wage standard and access to key benefits
  • Employment rights – good industrial relations and practices

Construction firms must also promote the benefits of any union membership to employees.

Councillor Logue said, “The council is currently embarking on ambitious plans right across North Lanarkshire including the single biggest investment in council houses for a generation and a planned programme to improve schools. For this, we work with a wide range of firms and suppliers at a number of sites, employing hundreds of people whose health and safety is paramount. It is vital that everyone working within the construction industry on council projects complies with the proposed charter to ensure health and safety standards are met, employees are treated and paid fairly and importantly, that all workers’ rights are protected.

“As an accredited Living Wage employer, it’s fundamental that the partners we work pass this on, as well as making a positive contribution to the provision of training, skills and employment opportunities locally.”

Steve Dillon, Unite regional coordinating officer added, “When the council spends public money, Unite wants to make sure it is going to companies who are investing in the local community, paying the appropriate rate for the job, and ensuring workers in their supply chains are treated with dignity and respect. Too often this has been lacking in construction therefore we welcome the support of the Labour leadership in North Lanarkshire Council in adopting the Construction Charter.

“Protecting the rights of construction workers is an ongoing struggle, but the Construction Charter is a signal to contractors that they must up their game and put in place systems at work that support a culture of positive industrial relations. We’re particularly pleased that the Charter says companies should not use umbrella companies to pay workers, and that it underlines the vital role of collective bargaining through trade unions.

“Unite is pushing the Construction Charter campaign across other councils and public bodies in Scotland and we expect them to follow the example of North Lanarkshire.”