HS2

29.03.19

‘Absolutely scandalous’: union claims HS2 workers denied holiday and overtime pay

Hundreds of staff working on the London Euston station for HS2 are being “systematically denied” their entitled holiday and agreed overtime pay, according to Unite union.

Unite said it had received multiple payslips from employees of labour supplier Bowercross Construction employed on the enabling works currently underway at Euston by the Costain/Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV).

Costain Skanska has said it instructed Bowercross Construction to “meet out required standards with immediate effect” following the union’s complaint.

The payslips “reveal the denial of nationally agreed holiday entitlement and overtime rates,” breaking the ‘framework agreement’ signed between HS2 and the TUC in 2016.

Unite said that under the relevant national agreement, workers are entitled to 30 days of holiday per year, but the HS2 workers in question are only receiving 28 days according to the company’s policy.

The union also said it has seen payslips showing that workers are only receiving their standard rate of pay for overtime on Monday to Friday instead of the ‘time and a half’ pay they are entitled to in the CSJV agreement.

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “HS2 is the largest construction project in the UK and as such should be paying the highest pay rates and providing the best possible conditions.

“It is absolutely scandalous that workers on HS2 are systemically being denied the correct overtime rates and having holidays stolen from them.

“HS2 must launch an immediate investigation into these underpayments and ensure that the agreement they signed is being fully complied with for all constructions workers on all of its sites.”

Swain also said every worker should be compensated for the money they have been denied, and accused Costain and Skanska of ignoring the framework agreement.

Unite said the full scale of the pay discrepancies on the project is “difficult to ascertain” because the project’s management team were preventing Unite from having access to the workforce in the canteen during breaks, which the CSJV claim would compromise health, safety and welfare.

HS2 has had a number of conflicts of interest or procurement scandals, including an “illegal cartel” between suppliers, and most recently Bechtel announced it was suing HS2 after losing a £1bn contract to build the Old Oak Common station.

Image credit - Grimshaw Architects/PA Archive/PA Images

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