A NEW three-year pay deal for the country's 600,000 building and civils workers will come into effect next month after employers and trade unions agreed a 14.5 per cent increase over the next three years last week.
The Working Rule Agreement deal, thrashed out by the umbrella body the Construction Industry Joint Council, follows nearly three months of negotiations between the Construction Confederation and Ucatt, the T&G and GMB.
New pay rates come into effect from Monday, June 26, and will see basic hourly pay go up to £9.32 for a craft worker and £7.01 for a labourer (see right).
Pension, travel and fare payments have all been increased and both sides have agreed to a future revamp of the industry's pension scheme by next summer.
The unions started out demanding a 66 per cent pay increase but were battered down by the employers during a lengthy series of day-long discussions.
Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie said: 'This is a good settlement for the industry. Throughout the negotiations we have taken a positive approach to the industry's problems. We have agreed an increase in pay that will raise rates significantly above the rate of inflation, we have committed the CIJC to detailed talks on the industry's pension scheme and the apprentice structure will be reviewed by the CIJC.
'Employers will benefit from the continuity that a multi-year deal gives the industry and we have achieved significant improvements in the pay and conditions for those workers covered by the agreement.'
The revised rates are designed as an industry minimum, with employers free to pay more.
Construction Confederation director of industrial relations Gerry Lean said: 'This agreement achieves the objectives of benefiting employers, employees and the industry as a whole through another long-term commitment that provides security for the workforce while allowing companies to plan ahead.
'In addition to meeting the needs of our industry's current workforce we must continue our efforts to ensure that construction is recognised as an attractive career option for young people.
'Improving pay and conditions, along with ensuring a healthier and safer industry, is the key to attracting high-calibre young people.'
n See Agenda, pages 12-13