Union welcomes new construction charter for Fife

Cllr Judy Hamilton proposed the charter.
Cllr Judy Hamilton proposed the charter.

Construction firms who want to get work from Fife Council will have to agree to a new Charter to promote local employment, fair wages and worker protection.

The Fife Council Construction Charter – which has been drawn up with the help of trade union Unite – is designed to stamp out bad industry practices, such as bogus self-employment schemes, on construction sites in the county.

Fife Council agreed the Charter at February’s full council meeting. All construction contractors doing work directly for the council will be asked to agree to it, and others who approach the council for other matters like planning permission will be strongly encouraged to do so.

The charter was proposed by Kirkcaldy Central Labour councillor Judy Hamilton.

Councillor Hamilton – who is the Fife Council spokesperson for Housing and Building Services – said: “When the council spends public money, we want to make sure it is going to companies who are investing in the local community, paying a fair wage, and treating their workers with dignity and respect.

“The council is a Living Wage employer and we want all construction companies to follow that example, including encouraging them to register as Scottish Living Wage Employers.

“The Charter makes it clear that the council expects health and safety standards to be rigorously implemented and adhered to. And we want companies to promote and improve opportunities in education and training, so that local people can help fill the construction skills gap and build a skilled workforce for the future.”

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “We would like to thank cllr Hamilton and all the councillors who supported this Charter.

“Protecting the rights of construction workers is an ongoing struggle, but the Fife Council Construction Charter is real a step in the right direction. We’re particularly pleased that the Charter says companies should not use umbrella companies to pay workers, and that it underlines the vital role of collective bargaining through trade unions.

“Now that this Charter has been agreed in Fife, we will be pushing for other public bodies in Scotland to follow their example.

“Unite will continue to campaign for the improvement of health and safety standards, plus proper pay and training, for construction workers across the whole of the country.”