Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Unpaid construction workers stay silent, says report

The problem of non-payment in the construction market goes unreported, a new study by researchers at the Middlesex University has found.

Speaking to Construction News, the author of the Unpaid Britain report Nick Clarke said construction workers were unwilling to speak out regarding unpaid wages.

The report’s analysis of industrial tribunal and insolvency data showed the industry to be one of the worst offenders.

“Not many construction workers would talk to us about it,” he said.

“It clearly happens – I can track it in the industrial tribunal cases, I can find the insolvency cases – but people didn’t want to talk about it.”

Mr Clarke said he believed workers in the sector found it harder to speak out over non-payment because their relationships with non-paying employers were often as subcontractors.

He added that he thought a “macho culture” prevented people coming forward.

“It’s under-reported – partly that’s cultural, partly it’s people making a rational judgement of, ‘Am I going to get paid?’,” he said.

“In a lot of cases these are enterprises or companies with no assets, so they think if I take [a non-paying contractor] to court, quite a lot of them reasonably assess, ‘No, I’m not going to get paid’.

“My supposition is that the workers think they are somehow to blame when they haven’t been paid.

“The strain is perhaps a lot worse for a married construction worker than it is for a single worker in the services sector.

“I think it might be a bit of a macho thing – they’re embarrassed and think they’ve been taken for a ride.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.