Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Branch meeting held outside due to CIS tax changes

Branch Meeting held outside due to CIS tax changes

London Construction Branch (follow on twitter - @Unite0555) held their monthly meeting last week as they do every month at Conway Hall. But this month was slightly different. The meeting had to be held in the park outside as Conway Hall wasn't big enough to hold everyone. This itself shows the level of anger running through sites across the London and the whole UK. 

There was alot of anger over the fact that Umbrella companies are even legal, let alone the fact that companies signed up to National Agreements have the front to push workers on to them. NG Baileys have been the first to take workers on the cards after workers at Three Bridges Station and Tottenham Court Road Crossrail Station forced their hand. Since the action by the two sites, Baileys have offered others the chance to also go on the cards.

What happened at Three Bridges is here in an earlier post 

The main conversation was the tax changes hitting the industry. For years we have been forced to work as Self Employed,

Thursday, 10 April 2014

New Site Worker Magazine

New Site Worker Magazine 

The new Site Worker magazine is out now.
To get hard copies for your site please email your address and amount of copies required to

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Agency Electricians Stage Walk Out

Electricians Stage Walk Out at 
Three Bridges Station

On Friday 4th April, 30+ Agency Electricians walked off of the job at Three Bridges Station, Crawley, Sussex, because of the new Umbrella tax system. The Client is Network Rail, the Main Contractor is Volker Fitzpatrick and the M&E Contractor is NG Bailey.

There had been unrest and grumblings all week as it was becoming clearer as to the extent that the average construction worker will lose out by being forced into moving onto the Umbrella tax scam through an agency. On Wednesday, Mechanical and Electrical workers walked off at AWE Aldermaston and this provided the impetus for yesterdays action.

Two members of the South East Construction Branch (twitter - @unitesec ) met the workers before they went on to site to give them the facts of what the new schemes and systems mean in real terms. 
Once everyone had got on site, the workers then called a meeting, they had a discussion, had a show of hands and walked off the job. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Fight For PAYE

 The Fight For PAYE

As a JIB approved electrician, like many in the construction industry have found it impossible to get a job on the cards for the last ten to fifteen years. Instead, I have gone around working for various agencies or CIS self employed direct for various contractors.

Agencies and self employment has lead without doubt to a race to the bottom when it comes to workers terms and conditions. Instead of agency labour being bought in to cover short term demand for extra manpower, it has become the main form of employment throughout the industry. This has weakened on site union organisation, bypassed employment laws so that companies can blacklist anyone they deem a “troublemaker” and seen pay frozen if not fall over the last decade.

 In 1999 I was earning £125 a day in London as a spark. Now, fifteen years later, I’m earning £140 a day while seeing everything else triple in price and the cost of housing becoming so high that even barristers are being priced out of the city. Without doubt it is far better financially if you are lucky enough to be directly employed for a company, this was shown excellently in an earlier blog post (Are we better off on the cards or CIS). Not to mention having the ability to organise on site to improve wages and condition and not having to worry about the dreaded tap on the shoulder on a Friday afternoon telling you you’re not needed any more.