Construction apprentices can expect better pay and conditions under a new wage structure to be negotiated by the Construction Industry Joint Council next month.
The CIJC decided a wage structure for apprentices would be introduced to its working rule agreement in a bid to tackle the industry's skills shortages.

Council members, which include unions and trade bodies, will now send negotiators to a meeting at the end of November to finalise the recommended hourly rate.

UCATT general secretary George Brumwell said he was delighted that pay for apprentices was being renegotiated under the agreement.

He said improved pay for trainees was vital for the future of the construction industry. "Apprentices have become disillusioned with the low pay they were receiving and we must now be able to offer them employment with good pay and career prospects."

An insider at the council meeting said although it had been agreed that negotiations would take place, there was still concern as to how favourable they would be.

He said there would be pressure from contractors to keep the cost of the agreement at a "reasonable" level, as they were concerned that anything more would not be adhered to.

Apprentices have become disillusioned with the low pay they were receiving

George Brumwell, general secretary, UCATT

The CIJC is made up of unions and trade associations covering 600,000 workers. It is used by its members to work together on industry issues and industrial relations.

Members include unions UCATT, T&G and the GMB and trade associations such as the Construction Confederation, the National Federation of Roofers and the National Association of Shopfitters.

A spokesperson for the Construction Confederation would not confirm that it had recommended a particular pay levels for apprentices, but it said that it would be sending a representative to the November meeting.

NAS deputy director Tim Southey welcomed the

return of set apprentices' pay in the working rule agreement. He said there were many shopfitting apprentices who work within the construction industry who would benefit from its return.