Move affects over a quarter of firm’s staff

Wates is the latest firm to furlough hundreds of employees with around 1,000 employees being put into the government job-saving scheme from next Monday.

The £1.6bn turnover contractor said the number represents just over a quarter of its staff and comes a day after Sir Robert McAlpine said it would furlough the bulk of its 2,000 staff.

David Allen Wates

Others furloughing staff include Laing O’Rourke, Kier and Galliford Try.

Wates said it expected the cash-saving initiative to last three months.

Other measures it is taking include pay cuts at all levels with the group board taking cuts of 35% between now and the end of June.

The firm added: “Only colleagues on the lowest salaries and those continuing to work on live sites and projects will be exempt from any reductions.”

Chief executive David Allen (pictured) said: “We arrived at the start of this global crisis in a position of financial strength and will emerge from it ready and able to thrive once again because we are making hard choices now.

“We recognise the additional pressures currently being faced by the majority of our colleagues who simply cannot work from home and who continue to be based on our sites and projects. Their pay and the pay of our most junior staff will not be adjusted. Everyone else, from the group board down, will be and it is right that the most senior members of the team will make the biggest contributions. We are all in this together.

“No one can foresee how long this crisis will continue, and other adjustments may need to be made, but we are determined to get through it, to emerge stronger, and for our people to keep their jobs.”

The furlough initiative was introduced by the government last month and sees staff put on paid leave with a proportion of their wages paid by the state.

This allows impacted employees to receive up to 80% of their salaries up to a cap of £2,500 per month.