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O'Rourke rolls out first new employee contracts

NEWS - Project leaders and contract managers will be first to switch over to new Laing O'Rourke contacts

PROJECT leaders and contract managers at Laing O'Rourke will be the first band of employees to go on to new contracts as part of the firm's top-to-bottom overhaul of pay and conditions.

Over the next two weeks, employees are expected to sign the first of the new contracts on sites across the country.

Laing O'Rourke is planning to switch all its 6,000 UKbased operatives to monthly pay and a maximum 48hour week over the next 18 months.

The firm wants to make the switch ahead of any new rules brought in under the Working Time Directive, which could stop construction workers working longer than 48 hours a week.

Under the plans, due to be rolled out regionally throughout the company, operatives could be paid as much as time and two-thirds for every hour on top of the standard 39-hour working week.

Directors in charge of each region will manage how operatives go on to the new contracts.They will decide on pay rates, depending on trade and experience.

One source said: 'It's a really good deal. It's all about getting rid of the old O'Rourke way of working - heads down and hands to the grindstone. If you look after the men and they are happy, they will be more productive and get paid good money.The security of a stable career is what is being offered.'

Not all directly employed workers will immediately be paid monthly, just those paid over a £1,000 a week gross.

Laing O'Rourke Midlands region director Aran Verling, who was previously its man in charge at Britain's biggest building site, Heathrow T5, is understood to behind the roll-out and has already held a number of presentations at building sites.

Construction News also understands from a senior Laing O'Rourke source that up to 900 employees have already signed up to the new contracts in the Midlands.

Sites in Manchester are the next to be briefed on the new terms.

One source said: 'They are doing it because they want to be the contractor of choice.They want to make it impossible for clients to not to pick them.'