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Blue book sparks pay row at Gunners'new stadium

Subbies in Naeci classification row at Arsenal stadium Workers walk out in Wales over inferior pay

A PAY row has broken out at Arsenal's Ashburton Grove stadium where steel erectors claim they are being cheated out of cash.

Erectors on the site of the Gunners' new 60,000seater home are aggrieved at what they claim is a wrong classification of the project size.Under the Naeci 'blue book' agreement, workers are paid in one of four categories depending on the size of the scheme. Currently on-site steel workers are in category four, the lowest paid, but they believe the £357 million project deserves the maximum classification, category one.

The six disgruntled subbies from Watson Steel, part of the Severfield Group, are erecting a 75 m pedestrian bridge across the nearby Drayton Park station.

Once work is finished a second Severfield outfit, Steel Craft, will carry out the work for the main stadium, bringing over 100 erectors to site. One union official said: 'There is no doubt in my mind that the employers have their sights set on ensuring this categorisation continues on work throughout the development.

'Severfield is trying to make a political football of this issue. Something is badly wrong when employers try to wriggle out of their responsibilities like this.

Anyone can see this is a major job - just look at the size of the bridge.'

Severfield declined to comment nHundreds of repair and maintenance workers staged an unofficial walkout at Aberthaw power station in south Wales this week over another Naeci classification row.

Unrest bubbled over on the planned 12-week upgrade of one of three boilers.Site sources claimed they were being paid an inferior pay band to others on the job.

As Construction News went to press Amicus and GMB union officials were in talks with representatives of contractor Mitsui Babcock to try and resolve the dispute which began on Friday.

Men on the rest of the site are paid a £10.80 basic hourly rate, under category two or three, compared to £9.65 on the boiler, which is a category four pay rate.

A source said: 'Everybody should be paid the same.

We want recognition for the work which is being done.

The blue book agreement is very clear on pay rates and the men are bang to rights.'