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Construction unions take undercutting campaign to Denmark

Construction unions take undercutting campaign to Denmark

07 April 2017
Members of Unite and GMB will on Monday (April 10) take their campaign to prevent undercutting of wages in the UK, to Denmark where the companies responsible are based.
 
The pay rates of UK construction workers are being undercut through social dumping on two major energy from waste plants in Rotherham, Yorkshire and Sandwich in Kent. Pay rates being offered via sub-contractors are reportedly up to 61 per cent below the collective agreements agreed rate.
 
Both projects are being financed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners the Investment arm of Pension Danmark.
 
The protest is taking place outside the offices of Pension Danmark from 8am.
 
Monday 10 April
Pension Danmark A/S
Langelinie Alle 43
2100 Copenhagen 0
8am (Central European Time)
 
The two principal contractors are both Danish companies Babcock & Wilcox Vølund and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S.
 
This aggressive social dumping would be illegal in Denmark as posted workers are protected by the appropriate collective agreements. Social dumping is also contrary to the Corporate Social Responsibility policies of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
 
The trade union members will be leafletting and encouraging the Danish public to sign the petition calling on the Danish government to launch an investigation into the companies involved in social dumping.
 
Unite national officer for construction, Bernard McAulay, said: “Danish companies involved in social dumping in the UK are rightly being named and shamed. It is the height of hypocrisy when companies turn a blind eye to allow the exploitation of workers in the UK to boost profits, when such practices are illegal in Denmark.
 
“The Danish government cannot stand idly by and allow companies to continue to conduct these practices when they know that if they promoted the same policies at home they would be prosecuted.
 
“Unite will use all its industrial power and influence to ensure that workers are not exploited and undercutting is ended in the construction industry.”
Phil Whitehurst, GMB national officer for construction, said: “If the Danish investors and construction companies took part in this kind of scheme back home in Denmark they would be facing a prison sentence.
 
“This exploitation of workers and social dumping has got to stop - and if it takes civil disobedience on the gates of their construction projects in the UK, so be it. These companies are willing to push their profit margins at the expense of human misery. 
 
“Its now time for the Danish government to get off the fence and regulate their investors and constructors and force them to act according to their corporate and social responsibilities regarding collective agreements. wherever they operate. GMB will fight them all the way to achieve this goal.” 
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors:
 
Babcock & Wilcox Vølund are undertaking the work at Rotherham and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S are responsible for the project in Sandwich Kent.
 
Babcok & Wilcox Vølund is sub-contracting work to Croatian company Duro Dakovic. The company has ignored the appropriate collective agreement and it is understood the company pays Croatian workers the minimum wage of £7.20 an hour. The appropriate collective agreement for engineering construction workers (NAECI) is £16.97 an hour with a bonus of £2.37 an hour.
 
Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor refuse to allow trade unions on their site. They also refuse to follow the NAECI agreement and don’t pay the bonus, industry sick pay, enhanced holiday pay, travel and accommodation allowances, benefit entitlements for death and disablement, unfair dismissal procedures after 4 weeks and many other benefits.
 
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235 or GMB media officer Jon Parker-Dean on 0207 391 6756 or 07813 542050. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org or Jon.Parker-Dean@gmb.org.uk 
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.