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Unions look to T5 for future working model

Union bosses are compiling plans for a 'T5 plus' industrial relations agreement which will be even -better than the current model in use at Heathrow.

The move follows a report by the four main construction unions into the pioneering pay and conditions deal at Heathrow's T5.

One union source said: 'The -report is not about knocking T5, it's about finding ways of making improvements.

'We want to build on what has happened down there and come up with a 'T5 plus' model that can be used on major projects in the future, like the Olympics.'The report was complied for the TUC following discussions with shop stewards and officials from Ucatt, Amicus, GMB and the T&G.

The report praises the T5 model in comparison to the chaos surrounding other major projects like Wembley Stadium.

It states: 'In the light of Wembley, there is a significant degree of public cynicism about the ability of the -industry to deliver quality projects on time and on budget.

'Yet the construction of T5, which is a huge and vastly complicated project, is on budget, slightly ahead of schedule and has a remarkably good health and safety record.

'Its success to date is not an -accident - it is precisely because the approach adopted by the client BAA is fundamentally different to the -industry norm.'

But while it praises the agreement for guaranteeing a job well done, there are a number of improvements recommended for future projects which mainly centre on more use of direct employment.

Main civils contractor Laing O'Rourke directly employed its workforce but there was widespread use of agency labour employed through composite companies on the M&E side.

The report states: 'Unions believe that there has been no need at any time for the use of agency labour at T5 and that its utilisation has been to the detriment of the project.

'The commitment to direct employment needs to be more robust and unions doubt that the terms and conditions specified for direct employees are being successfully cascaded to all first and second tier subcontractors.'

Wages at T5 set new standards with construction workers earning £50,000 a year.

By Grant Prior