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Builders’ pittance pay ‘frankly disgusting’

Bosses will hear call for London living wage

ANGRY builders will demonstrate outside three major bosses’ clubs this morning to demand London workers are lifted out of “frankly disgusting” poverty pay.

Workers will gather outside three employers’ associations which blocked union proposals to pay the London living wage at the Construction Industry Joint Council, the largest collective bargaining body in the trade.

Labourers and general operatives working under the agreement are paid as little as £8.52 an hour — compared to the London living wage of £9.15, which is set to take account of living costs.

The living wage is expected to rise again later this year — meaning even more workers covered by the CIJC will fall below the mark.

From 8am this morning, members of construction unions Ucatt and Unite will picket the central London headquarters of the Home Builders Federation, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association and the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation.

Ucatt London and south-east secretary Jerry Swain said: “Many construction workers are employed in brutal conditions and have to work excessive hours just to make ends meet. It is frankly disgusting that they should be employed on pay rates below what you need to live on in London.”

Unions are planning a sustained campaign to raise awareness of their grievance over the next few months.

Unite London and eastern region official Vince Passfield said the “cash-rich” building industry could well afford to increase the pay of lower-grade workers but bosses are putting “profit before reward.”

He said: “London’s prosperity is partly based on the building boom across the city, yet the very construction workers creating the wealth are being denied the London living wage deemed the basic income required to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

“More and more business and industry leaders across the economy are recognising the importance of the living wage as a way of giving hardworking employees the semblance of a decent income.”

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