Two sub-contractors have had their contracts cancelled at a Sita Sembcorp UK (SSUK) energy-from-waste plant in Teesside following allegations of low wages.
The site’s main contractor CNIM Clugston Wilton (CCWL) terminated the contracts after the two firms concerned failed to respond to an investigation looking into contractors’ pay rates at the Wilton 11 EfW plant near Redcar.
One other subcontractor remains under investigation.
The development follows a long-running row between trade unions and contractors over working conditions.
In August, representatives of GMB, Unite and Ucatt visited the plant with interpreters and alleged that some overseas workers were being paid below the National Joint Council for Engineering Construction Industry’s (NJC) pay agreements.
These claims prompted the investigation by SSUK and CCWL.
According to CCWL, the pay rates for more than 60 of the site’s sub-contractors were checked. Of those, 57 were found to be paying their staff in line with NJC rates. Two failed to respond and both have had their contracts terminated.
Ucatt regional secretary Denis Doody said: “We would like to know who these sub-contractors are and what the reasons are behind their contracts being cancelled.”
Unite regional officer Steve Cason said: “We need a forensic wage audit, that is the only thing that will get to the bottom of this.”
SSUK has rejected a wage audit, with a spokesman saying: “We have received a number of allegations from union members, all of which have been investigated thoroughly and the vast majority of which are baseless.
“There is no question that the site is being run to extremely high standards, with excellent health and safety practices, and all sub-contractors are paying rates that are in line with English law.
“Furthermore, we have not sought, nor obtained any financial benefit from the use of overseas contractors at the expense of domestic UK contractors in the construction of this facility. SSUK expects all workers to be paid in line with the NAECI and CIJC rates, wherever they are from.
“Our position is clear and has been the same throughout discussions with union representatives. If any sub-contractors are found to be paying less than the appropriate rates of pay, no matter how small the differential, then we will apply pressure to ensure this is rectified immediately.
“We have the assurances of CCWL that any sub-contractor that fails to comply will be dismissed from the site.”
SSUK said it would be meeting union officials on 30 September to discuss the Teesside plant.
A spokeswoman for CCWL told MRW’s sister title Construction News: “We take the situation very seriously. Given investigations are still continuing it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
- This is a version of an article that first appeared on Construction News