Union claims that contractor is failing to ensure that subcontractors are paid statutory holiday entitlement.

Construction union UCATT has hit out at Canary Wharf Contractors, the consortium that runs the Canary Wharf development, claiming that it has failed to ensure that workers on its prestigious projects receive Christmas holiday pay.

UCATT official Jerry Swain said a number of companies working for Canary Wharf were refusing to give workers engaged on CIS4 certificates Christmas holiday pay, despite the fact that the legislation on holiday pay states that all workers must receive it.

The attack on Canary Wharf is part of a UCATT campaign to force major contractors to carry out stringent checks on all specialists to ensure that they are adhering to the holiday pay legislation.

Swain said: “The Working Time Directive legislation is quite clear. It says all workers are entitled to holiday pay as a matter of health and safety. It specifically says workers and not employees to ensure that all workers, including self-employed ones, receive proper holiday pay.

“What we want here is a little bit of Christmas spirit and for Canary Wharf Contractors to take a lead in that.”

He added: “Building workers at Canary Wharf have observed the Jewish holidays on this site without fuss and are surely entitled to paid holidays when they are celebrating the birth of Christ and the end of the millennium.

What we want is a bit of Christmas spirit and for Canary Wharf to take a lead in that

Jerry Swain, UCATT

Earlier this year, unions signed an agreement with Canary Wharf Contractors to ensure that workers would be paid for days lost when work on sites had to stop for Jewish holidays.

Swain said he had written to Canary Wharf property director John Pagona over the issue

this week and requested an “immediate meeting”. He warned that if the matter was not resolved, UCATT would take Canary Wharf Contractors to an industrial tribunal in the new year.

Canary Wharf Contractors declined to comment, but insisted that holiday pay arrangements were a matter for individual subcontractors.

Specialists involved in projects at Canary Wharf include O’Rourke, Byrne Brothers and formwork contractor Kilnbridge.

The news comes as workers on the Canary Riverside development delivered a petition to construction manager Bovis demanding it take tougher action against subcontractors that have refused to pay workers for the Christmas break.