Unions agree new pay deal for construction workers

CONSTRUCTION workers operating under the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) agreement are set for a wage rise after a new two-year pay deal worth over 6% was agreed.

The CIJC principally covers those workers operating in civil engineering and trades such as carpentry, bricklaying and painting.

The agreement signed by Unite and the GMB will see pay rates increase by 3.2% from June 25. The rise means the minimum rate for craft workers is £12.31 an hour, with the general operative (labourer) minimum rate increasing to £9.26 an hour. Pay rates will increase by a further 2.9% from June 24, 2019.

Travel allowance will also increase in line with the percentage rise in pay rates and the (tax free) fare allowance will increase in line with inflation. Lodging allowances will increase by 7.8% to £40 a night in 2018 and will then increase by inflation in 2019.

Industry sick pay is to be increased and extended. It will rise to £130 per week (paid in addition to statutory sick pay) – an increase of 6.1%, and will now be paid for 13 weeks (up from the current 10-week period).

First year apprentices will benefit from a 6.5% increase.

Jerry Swain, Unite’s national officer for construction, described the deal as a “strong step” in the right direction. He added, “The increases in allowances and other benefits underline the value of working under an industrial agreement and being part of collective bargaining arrangements. Over the next two years we will be working to further strengthen the agreement and ensure that it is brought into line with other agreements in all matters and is seen as relevant on major construction sites.

“Construction workers need to remain vigilant that employers actually pay the agreed pay rates. Too often in construction employers try to boost their profits by failing to pay agreed increases.”

GMB national officer Ross Murdoch added, “Given the current climate in the wider construction industry and overall economic climate, this deal is both a recognition of a hard-working, highly-skilled workforce and a demonstration of real commitment to maintaining meaningful joint national industrial agreement. As further significant construction projects emerge over the next few years, this deal offers genuine hope of retaining the much needed skills for the industry, as well as attracting new apprentices, with the percentage uplift for apprentice rates further reinforcing the importance of this latter point.”