Unite, the UK’s construction union, has warned that the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card scheme in its current guise is not fit for purpose and demanded that there is cross-industry action to resolve the problems and ensure that workers are not denied employment.

Over 200,000 workers who operate large plant on construction sites rely on the cards to access employment. The cards ensure that contractors can verify that the worker has the appropriate skills and qualifications.

Cards backlog

There is growing anger among affected workers concerning a backlog in cards being renewed and new cards being applied for.

The delays in renewing and issuing cards have emerged since the vocational skills charity the NOCN Group, purchased the CPCS card scheme from the Construction Industry Trading Board (CITB) last year.

Lack of investment 

However it is understood that the problems are linked to a lack of investment in the scheme over the previous five years.

Unfit for purpose 

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “As it currently stands the CPCS card scheme is not fit for purpose.

“It is essential that problems to the CPCS card scheme are swiftly resolved. A backlog in renewing and issuing cards is denying skilled workers the ability to earn a living.

 “If the problems are not swiftly resolved then the entire scheme will be undermined, which will result in major safety implications for the industry.

 “While the problems with the scheme have arisen under the auspices of NOCN, the CITB which previously owned the scheme also has a moral duty to assist in resolving the problems.

 “The CPCS scheme has been the industry go to for decades. It is held in high regard for its standards. It is unacceptable that the CITB has allowed this situation to arise and more importantly failed to step in and to rectify the situation.

 “Unite believes that an urgent meeting of the key stakeholders needs to come together to thrash out the problems and identify solutions. Such a meeting must include the NOCN Group, the CITB, the CPCS management committee, trade unions and the relevant trade federations.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.