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Canary Wharf workers win 14 days of Jewish holidays

WORKERS on the new twin towers at Canary Wharf have won nearly three extra weeks of holiday as part of a unique pay and conditions deal.

Steel erectors and other trades on the 42-storey Citigroup tower will receive 14 extra paid days corresponding to Jewish holidays.

Developers on the scheme are orthodox Jews, so no work can take place on religious holidays or Saturdays.

O'Rourke is main contractor and Hollandia Buyck steelwork subcontractor on the Citicorp site where 280 people are employed.

Electrical and engineering union AEEU regional organiser Frank Westerman said: 'We had very amicable talks with O'Rourke and this is a good deal.

'When the original phase of Canary Wharf was built, the workers had to use up their own holidays on these dates.'

The union is now pressing for a similar deal on the adjacent 48-storey HSBC tower being built by Cleveland Bridge and Byrne Bros.

Steelworkers on both sites are being employed under the industry's 'blue book' agreement which pays £7.40 an hour plus a guaranteed hourly bonus of £1.97.

Workers also receive a £32-a-week London supplement and have their travel paid for.

Mr Westerman said: 'Steelworkers are in short supply.'