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. . . but the devil is in the detail


ANGER among workers offered the new arrangement has centred on certain controversial areas of the deal.

The King's Cross contract states: 'The typical shift being worked on this site for the time being is 49.5 hours and if you volunteer to work it your earnings will be £xxx [a figure specifying the rate for the trade], inclusive of a discretionary bonus and subsistence allowance.'Workers want much clearer terms for the how to get the bonus.

Another phrase has rung alarm bells: 'Please note that basic rates are site-specific and may vary from site to site, and you hereby expressly agree to this provision.'

Workers with families are also unhappy about Laing O'Rourke's ability to change working hours, starting and finishing times and breaks 'at the sole discretion of the management, subject to business needs' And while Laing O'Rourke can alter working patterns on a whim, the worker has to give a month's notice in advance to get the day off.

The company also makes it clear when it wants employees to take their statutory 21 days holiday - seven days over Christmas, four days over Easter and the remaining 10 preferably between May and October.

The holiday pay itself is based on a 39-hour working week, despite the fact that most staff will 'volunteer' for the 49.5-hour week being worked on the site. Failure to comply with any of the rules could result in loss of bonus.