Fares, rail policy and DfT news

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

Ep.17 Becoming a data-driven railway, Kelley Quirk and Martin Mason

21/09/2020Ep.17 Becoming a data-driven railway, Kelley Quirk and Martin Mason

This week host Ailsa Cowen is joined by two guests from Network Rail. Martin Mason, Programme Manager, at Network Rail’s Digital Railway an... more >
Ely rail capacity upgrade open for public consultation

21/09/2020Ely rail capacity upgrade open for public consultation

Network Rail have today opened their first round of public consultation for proposals to upgrade the railway in and around Ely and will run for s... more >
Rail franchises to end, making way for a new railway

21/09/2020Rail franchises to end, making way for a new railway

After 24 years, the Department for Transport (DfT) has today (21st Sept) announced that rail franchising is to end, forming the early steps towar... 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

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... 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 >