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Union to push Labour on lump

CONSTRUCTION union UCATT will lobby Labours front bench to stamp out lump labour and make registration

for construction workers compulsory.

The unions conference last week in Perth voted to launch a national campaign to return to PAYE employment.

George Brumwell, UCATT general secretary, also said he had started talks with major contractors on the industrys movement back to direct employment.

He predicted that the big clampdown by tax authorities on the self-employed status of many of the countrys 714 and SC60 tax rated workers would soon force construction firms to put most of them back on the payroll.

The Inland Revenue sent out guidance earlier this year to employers challenging the legal status of most so-called self employed building workers. In two years it plans to set an earnings floor of between 20,000 and 30,000, which workers must exceed to qualify for 714 tax certificate.

David Stopford, industrial relations director at the Building Employers Confederation, told a fringe meeting at the conference that he was advising firms to ensure they take on the books workers who should be directly employed.

The conference was told that the Exchequer lost 3 billion a year in tax and national insurance from the industry.

Mr Brumwell said: It is vital that the workers themselves are not short- changed when they go on the books.

They must be eligible for holiday pay, sick pay, overtime pay and all other benefits of direct employment which have been denied them for years.

Delegates at the conference also voted to launch a campaign to make registration of workers on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme compulsory for all workers.

So far the scheme operated by the Construction Industry Training Board has 15,000 workers who have registered or applied to join.

Mr Brumwell said: The lead has to come from the top, so we expect the industrys major employers, and if necessary the government itself, to ensure that the CSCS is a success.