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Letters

Sir,

LINDSAY ROSS writes that to be self-employed is a triumph of the working man's skills and initiative (Prize letter, Construction News, April 29). I feel that the comments were based solely upon an employer's perspective.

The construction industry and its workforce have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous companies that take advantage of the greed culture.

The implementation of new employment status for trades people - coupled with the new working time directives within the industry - creates a level playing field for all.

The employer has a responsibility to ensure that employees are treated equally and fairly with regard to remuneration and that this is reflected in their pricing schedules when work is estimated and tendered. The competitive edge can still be maintained by harnessing the productivity increases gained from a happy balanced workforce.

Smaller contracts also have their place within work schedules as in the main these are used to equalise the peaks and troughs created by the larger sized contracts.

I hope for the construction industry's sake that these tax changes eradicate a large proportion of self employment.

Most self-employed workers would rather be fully employed, enjoying all the benefits that they do not get working for a subcontractor including better pay, conditions and training. The construction industry has persevered with the current status for many years and where has it got us?

Figures indicating the lack of new tradespeople entering the industry are of serious concern. This reluctance to join is no surprise with the conditions being as they are.

We have tried and failed using the old methods, now let's see if the changes make the difference that we all hope they will.

It is easy for salaried, packaged, bastions of industry to pontificate but until they have seen life from the other side of the fence I feel that they are not in a position to comment.

Phil Willis

Senior Shop Steward

Millennium Dome

London SE10