£8.80 for a 39 hour week!
The ‘Guardian’ reported (30.06.08)“After a 39-hour week, one man took home
£8.80 when his monthly rent of £155 was deducted in one week. Another man
worked a 70-hour week, earning £420, but was not paid overtime and after having
£228 deducted for repayment on tools was left with £66. A third man worked a
40-hour week but was left with £13 after paying £155 for a month’s rent. As
self-employed workers they received no holiday pay
Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, said: "This case is the worst
we have seen. These workers were virtually destitute."
Ucatt’s regional secretary, Steve Murphy, said he was confident the men
would receive back pay for deductions and missing overtime in the next few
days. "We will be able to eventually get a fair resolution for these
workers. What is truly frightening is to think what happens on the many
unorganised sites in our country."
The men were building internal walls and some were working up to 70 hours a
week without receiving overtime. A union spokesperson New Labour has made it
quite clear that it doesn’t give a toss.said: "Working that long on a
building site is hard work. How can we expect to improve safety standards in
this industry when employers carry on like this?"
Ucatt is campaigning to have the Gangmasters’ Licensing Act extended to
cover the construction industry, which would mean that employment agencies and
subcontractors have to pass minimum standards before they can supply labour.
But the most disturbing part of the
story is the response of the government. If the allegations are correct, and
the fact that the subcontractors have gone to ground suggests that it is, then
they are breaking the law. New Labour has made it quite clear that it doesn’t
give a toss. Support Ucatt’s campaign. Don’t let employers get away with
breaking the law.