Construction union Ucatt slams “appalling” levels of pay to Lithuanian workers
Lithuanian workers on a Skanska site took home just £8.80 for a 40-hour week, according to the construction union Ucatt.
The 12 workers, employed by dry lining subcontractor Produm, were paid less than the agreed minimum wage and were charged excessive deductions for rent, tools and utility bills.
Some received less than £10 for their week’s work. Others were not paid overtime, with some paid less than £100 for working over 70 hours. Some of the workers have since stopped being paid altogether, with Produm reportedly owing workers up to five weeks’ pay.
The conditions, which Ucatt described as “appalling systematic abuse of vulnerable migrant workers”, were uncovered at the £265m Mansfield Hospital in Nottinghamshire, under construction by Skanska.
Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, said: “At Ucatt we have been building up a large fact file of abuses of ganged workers. This case is the worst we have seen, these workers were virtually destitute. The fact it has occurred on a PFI site, using taxpayers money is scandalous.”
This case is the worst we have seen, these workers were virtually destitute. The fact it has occurred on a PFI site, using taxpayers money is scandalous
Ucatt held emergency talks last week with the companies concerned, including Baris, the subcontractor which employed Produm. The union says that an agreement that workers would receive backdated pay at the correct level and deductions repaid has since been reneged upon by Baris.
Skanska said: "It was brought to our attention one of our first-tier subcontractors was engaging a subcontractor that was allegedly not remunerating employees in accordance with The National Working Rule Agreement of the Construction Industry Joint Council.
"It was further alleged that there were deductions from individuals not in accordance with the NWRA. Skanska takes such issues very seriously. Since this information was brought to our attention we have worked with UCATT to resolve these issues."
A spokesperson for Baris said it would be making a formal statement in due course, but did not wish to make any comment in the interim. Attempts to find contact details for Produm have been unsuccessful.