Council work with Unite to protect construction workers

Councillor Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council and Steve Preddy, Unite’s South West Regional Secretary, with the new Construction Charter

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council and Steve Preddy, Unite’s South West Regional Secretary, with the new Construction Charter

A £40 million construction project in Plymouth was the venue for signing a new charter that will ensure that working conditions and building standards on construction projects under the control of Plymouth City Council meet the highest standards.

The charter commits the city to working with the Unite union to ensure direct employment status and best practice in health and safety, standards of work, apprenticeship training and implementing nationally agreed terms and conditions.

Councillor Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said “We have developed this charter in partnership with Unite to embed in our procurement rules a whole range of asks that binds not only our main contractors but their sub-contractors, to the highest standards.

“The Council spends millions of pounds every year on construction projects so it’s important that we demand good jobs, good apprentice training, excellent health and safety and that people are paid the going rate for the industry.

“Through our Building Plymouth programme we are working with the industry to address the skills shortage and provide training opportunities, but this cements that commitment to construction and to the safety of its workers and their trade union rights, even further.

“The charter also reminds us that the Council supports the Get Britain Building campaign, which aims to support and sustain the British construction industry.”

Under the charter contractors and their suppliers must meet the highest level of compliance with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. This means that they have to ensure that operatives employed by the contractor or subcontractors are directly employed on a Pay As You Earn basis with a suitable contract of employment.

Other features include a commitment from contractors and suppliers to work with appropriate trade unions to identify and implement reasonable protection of workers safety, to ensure all workers are competent and have the right level of skill to carry out the work they are employed to do.

Steve Preddy, Unite’s South West Regional Secretary said: “We welcome Plymouth City Council’s significant commitment to construction workers and to residents.

“The Charter commits to working with Unite in order to achieve the highest standards for workers and residents. It means workers will be directly employed. The Charter will help local workers to operate in a safe environment including giving them the rights to raise health and safety issues without fear.”

The Charter was signed today at the Box construction site where there are on average 100 workers a day. Willmott Dixon representative Robert Woolcock said: “We have already signed up – as we share this commitment to ensuring safe sites. It makes sound business sense to look after your staff.”