EMPLOYERS have offered the country's 600,000 building workers a rise worth less than 80p an hour over three years during the latest round of industry pay talks.
The construction unions submitted a claim for £12 an hour, which is a 62 per cent increase on the current £7.40 craft rate.
But the employers have countered with an initial offer of 10.3 per cent spread over the next three years.
George Brumwell, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: 'This is not addressing the reality of the industry and doesn't even cover inflation.
'It might only be an opening shot but, as an offer, it is miles away.'
Construction Confederation industrial relations director Gerry Lean said: 'The unions have made it clear that this falls well below their expectations.
'We are meeting again next month and hope we will reach an agreement by Easter.'