Awards, contracts & appointments

02.04.19

HS2 workers win £1m in back pay after ‘underpayment scandal’

A HS2 contractor has agreed to back pay over £1m to hundreds of its construction workers after Unite claimed they were being “systematically denied” their entitled holiday and agreed overtime pay.

Last week it was reported that payslips from workers from Bowercross Construction, the labour supplier for the Costain Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV) working on the London Euston HS2 site, “revealed the denial of nationally agreed holiday entitlement and overtime rates.”

The Unite union said following a meeting with CSJV, the company has “committed to immediately begin paying the correct overtime rates and increase the holiday entitlement as set out in the ‘framework’ agreement.”

The HS2 joint venture is to back pay the affected workers who have been underpaid on the site, a bill which Unite estimates is in excess of £1m.

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “CSJV had no option once the scandal of the underpayments was revealed by Unite to immediately ensure the correct rates are paid.

“Questions remain about who knew and for how long; workers were being underpaid and exploited.”

Under the relevant national agreement, workers are entitled to 30 days of holiday per year, but the HS2 workers were instead only receiving 28 days.

The payslips given to Unite also showed that workers were only receiving their standard rate of pay for overtime instead of the ‘time and a half’ they are entitled to in the CSJV agreement.

It was estimated the incorrect overtime rates meant workers were on average being underpaid by over £100 a week.

Following the new agreement, Unite said “serious issues” remain on the project, such as CSJV still refusing Unite access to the canteen to speak to workers due to health and safety risks. However, the joint venture said Unite had been offered access.

Last autumn, the union also found that Bowercross Construction were not paying for workers correct accident and death benefit cover, but the company has since assured that the issue has been resolved.

A spokesperson for the CSJV said it uses approved suppliers to provide labour to some of its sites on the HS2 enabling workers, and these workers are paid via PAYE and receive full employment rights.

The spokesperson stated: “We have looked into Unite’s report concerning the industry agreement rate for overtime and weekend duty, as well as holiday entitlement. The company concerned has been instructed to remedy this with immediate effect so that we meet our required standards.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Avanti West Coast upgrades Voyager fleet

13/07/2020Avanti West Coast upgrades Voyager fleet

Following an £8.3m deal which was signed with Bombardier last year, the 20 Voyagers, which operate over the non-electrified sections of the... more >
Two weeks of Midland Main Line improvement work

13/07/2020Two weeks of Midland Main Line improvement work

As vital work continues on the £1.5bn Midland Main Line Upgrade, passengers who have to travel over the next two weekends are being urged b... more >
HS2 uncovers Iron Age discoveries

13/07/2020HS2 uncovers Iron Age discoveries

During the excavation work at Wellwick Farm near Wendover, archaeologists working on the HS2 project in Buckinghamshire have discovered a skeleto... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >