London Construction Branch (follow on twitter - @Unite0555) held their monthly meeting last week as they do every month at Conway Hall. But this month was slightly different. The meeting had to be held in the park outside as Conway Hall wasn't big enough to hold everyone. This itself shows the level of anger running through sites across the London and the whole UK.
There was alot of anger over the fact that Umbrella companies are even legal, let alone the fact that companies signed up to National Agreements have the front to push workers on to them. NG Baileys have been the first to take workers on the cards after workers at Three Bridges Station and Tottenham Court Road Crossrail Station forced their hand. Since the action by the two sites, Baileys have offered others the chance to also go on the cards.
What happened at Three Bridges is here in an earlier post
The main conversation was the tax changes hitting the industry. For years we have been forced to work as Self Employed,
it has been going on for so long now that it is seen as the norm. The norm to not be paid for bank holidays, the norm to crap overtime rates(if any at all), the norm to getting a tap on the shoulder on a Friday afternoon and finished up with no notice. AND also the norm to participate in TAX AVOIDANCE.
We may have been classified by companies and agencies for years as Self Employed but the main reason for this is tax avoidance. It brings companies over heads down, keeps agencies and payroll companies in business and keeps our Employment rights to a minimum.
We, us, you and me, are not totally blameless in letting it happen over the last couple of decades but now is the time for it to stop.
The last two weeks there have been walk outs, cabining up, petitions handed in to management, grievance letters produced.
The arguements, facts and figures for being on the cards are here in an earlier post
THE FIGHT FOR PAYE has officially begun.
Unite have and will continue to help ALL members who are being forced onto an Umbrella scheme. So far over 100 sparks have been taken on the cards in the London and South East regions because of the unofficial actions of the rank & file workers followed up by the official assistance of Unite who then come and resolve the issues raised by their members.
Ian Bradleys SiteWorker article...The Fight For PAYE
If you can afford to lose over £100 a week for the rest of your life then carry on. I know I can't and not a single construction worker I know can either.
So we now have a choice, do we swallow it, move on, pay the employers NI and forever earn £5,000-£8,000 a year less TAKE HOME. OR DO WE stick that idea back in the box of stupid ideas and actually fight for OUR money?
If you are not a member then join Unite TODAY, Unite cannot help unless you are a member. Unite have and will fight for your right to be directly employed instead of this Umbrella Scam. Without the backing of Unite it will be very hard to force the employers hand.
AGENCY WORKERS TO DO LIST
- We need to stop acting as individuals on site, talk to eachother,
- ALL trades are affected by this.
- ALL construction agency workers are affected by this.
- Call a site meeting for all agency workers.
- Demand from the employers and main contractors to be taken on the cards.
- If they say no then take action.
- Cabin up, walk off the job, the main weapon we have is to WITHDRAW our labour.
- Then call the Unite officer for your region. They will arrive and talk to the employers on your behalf.