The commercial downturn and uncertainty in the rail sector lead Carillion and Mace to count heads.
Major contractors are considering the option of cutting staff this week because of uncertainty in the commercial and rail sectors.

Contractor Carillion is considering making job cuts and Mace said this week that it was undertaking an end-of-year review of staff numbers. However, a spokesperson insisted that this was standard procedure in December.

Carillion admitted that the future of more than 50 staff in its Midlands building division was under threat from the market downturn.

A spokesperson for the firm said it was looking at redeploying workers to other areas in the firm, but added that redundancies were possible.

The spokesperson said it was likely that the redeployment of about 50 staff would take place after Christmas. He said: "We don't know what is going to happen yet, as we could win contracts and need the people, but the bottom line is that there may be redundancies in the division in the new year."

The spokesperson added that Carillion was recruiting in its South-east rail divisions, and that this was one area where staff may be transferred.

We don’t know, but there may be redundancies in the new year

Carillion spokesperson

Richard Bowker, chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, added to the uncertainty this week when he announced that the rail body had already spent the £33bn it was allocated by the government for maintenance, and that track improvements may never happen.

The change in the market was underlined by Skanska, which said this week that it would reallocate staff in its Scottish division to markets such as the PFI. A spokesperson said the firm would be focusing on public sector work in Scotland, such as prison and education projects, rather than commercial schemes.

Building understands that developer Chelsfield is reviewing whether to build, delay or scrap the £150m Grand Union building at Paddington, as it does not currently have a tenant.

Contractor Laing O'Rourke was the frontrunner to win the contract as it was due to carry out enabling works.