Unions accuse subcontractors of 'lying' as Alstom site document shows nationally agreed wages undercut by £4 per hour

Official strike action has been threatened following claims by trade unions that Polish workers are being paid £4 an hour less than the UK nationally agreed rate of pay.

The allegations were made after trade unions said they had a copy of a contract showing subcontractor Remak was paying a Polish worker £10.01 an hour at the Alstom Isle of Grain site.

Under the UK Engineering Construction Industry National Agreement, the national rate of pay for an advanced craftsman is £14 an hour.

The GMB said they also had statments from subcontractor Zre Katowice, who are also working at the Isle of Grain site, that they are also paying lower rates of pay than the national agreement.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary said: “GMB Organisers also have documentary evidence of the same thing at the Lindsay Oil Refinery site.

“GMB members have had enough of being lied to by contractors, subcontractors and their apologists at ACAS and in Parliament on this issue.”

Kenny said yesterday at the National Joint Council, trades unions submitted a claim to the employers for proper auditing before contacts are awarded to satisfy members subcontractors bidding for the work could afford and would pay agreed rates.

The union said if employers did not agree to this auditing, the GMB would have “no hesitation is sanctioning a national ballot for official industrial action across the engineering construction industry.”

A spokesperson for Alstom said: “We have addressed the concerns raised by the GMB about the pay rates of Polish workers employed by our subcontractors at the Isle of Grain power station construction site.

These workers are now being paid the correct rate of pay and we have made it clear to our subcontractors that we will not tolerate any breaches of national agreements on pay and conditions.”