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M&E subbies fume at efficiency study

SPECIALIST subbies are dismissing claims that workers supplied by labour agencies are more efficient than their own people.

Company bosses believe experts at Dundee University are well wide of the mark in their findings on the mechanical and electrical sector.

The academics study of the area discovered that labour only subcontractors are between 10 and 40 per cent more efficient than directly employed workers.

But those findings are hotly disputed by firms in Scotland.

Muray Thain, managing director of Buckie-based No.1 Electrical, said: The idea that labour only subcontractors are more productive is completely wrong.

We wont use them any more because their productivity levels are nowhere near our own people. They simply dont have the same interest in the work.

Those sentiments were backed up by John Rodden, managing director of Douglas Electrical of Stevenston.

He said: Some firms like to bring in labour, but I dont think it is easy to find good labourers.

The statement that labour-only subs are more efficient is not one that many people would agree with.

But Charles Gibson, managing director of Kilmarnock-based Gibson Wight, believes some imported labour can speed up a job.

He said:'I would have a serious look at them in the situation where a group gets together to offer a price to do a particular job.

But I don't believe workers you simply hire on an hourly basis are more productive. That has certainly not been my experience.

Another controversial finding of the report was that bonus schemes do not speed up work or increase efficiency.'

Richard Wilson, managing director of Aberdeen contractor Wilson RB (Electrical), said: What they are saying goes against human nature.

It seems obvious that people will work harder if they are offered bonuses. But the main thing in the industry at the moment is the rash of penalty clauses, where you get hit if you don't finish on time.

The electricians union AEEU supports the attack on bonuses. A spokesman said: Historically, bonuses are just used to bump up basic pay rates which are much too low.