Construction digger

Unite fury at Dundee 'Construction Charter' breaches

Unite the union has today (10 June) reacted furiously to allegations which point towards Dundee city council’s 'construction charter' having being breached by the Robertson Group.

In December 2018, Dundee city council along with Unite signed the 'construction charter'. This pledged to ensure that through the procurement and delivery of council-backed building projects there are high standards in relation to employment status, health and safety, training and nationally agreed terms and conditions. Cllr Alexander, Leader of Dundee city council, added at the time: “The charter is there to ensure that our relationships with contractors and their subcontractors is fair and above board."

However, only months after being signed, Unite has received multiple reports of an agency called O’Neil and Brennon employing construction workers through an umbrella practice. Agencies attempt to force workers in to so-called ‘umbrella companies’, particularly in the construction sector, to off-load national insurance contributions and other benefits to the detriment of the worker. The main contractor for the construction of residential homes at Hill Street, Dundee, where the practice has been potentially uncovered is the Robertson Group. Among the requirements in the charter it specifically states that ‘operatives are directly employed on a PAYE basis under a contract of employment’. Both Dundee city council and the Robertson Group have so far not fully responded to these allegations despite repeated attempts by Unite.

George Ramsay, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The allegations of umbrella practices by an agency working on the construction of homes in Dundee is outrageous. It's only a few months ago the 'construction charter' was hailed as a major step forward in rooting out illegal and bad practices by companies and agencies in the construction sector. Unite has raised these breaches both with the Robertson Group who are the main contractor for this project and Dundee city council to ensure that if these allegations are correct then the agency involved should be withdrawn immediately.”

ENDS

For more information contact George Ramsay on 07880 037 980.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.

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