Recruitment firm forced to increase rates paid on Brookfield Construction's Peterborough PFI site

Twenty-four local construction workers have received major pay rises after Ucatt won its battle to stop employment agencies paying below industry minimum levels.

The construction union had discovered that Jark Recruitment was paying its workers £5.73 an hour, on the Peterborough hospital PFI, which is being built by Brookfield Construction.

The firm had entered into an agreement with Ucatt that the Working Rule Agreement covering pay rates would be observed on the site.

The union subsequently contacted Brookfield Construction and pointed out that workers on their site were receiving below the industry minimum rates.

Brookfield responded and forced Jark Recruitment to pay the agreed minimum pay rates. As a result 14 labourers have had a £2 increase in hourly pay, taking their pay to £7.75, while 10 other semi-skilled workers have had their pay increased by an average of £1 an hour.

All the workers concerned have also had their holiday pay rates increased.Brian Rye, regional secretary for Ucatt's Eastern region, said: “It is disgraceful that a major employment agency such as Jark were trying to undercut industry minimum pay rates. I want to congratulate Brookfield Construction for their swift response in helping to resolve this issue.”The work uncovering the low pay on the hospital site was undertaken by Ucatt development officer Sandra Wilson, who is now targeting other employment agencies and gangmasters in the region which are paying construction workers below industry minimum rates.Jark is a major employment agency in the area working in several different sectors and a member of the main employment agency trade association REC.