Construction workers will have one powerful union voice on their side fighting for them from 1 January 2017, it was announced today (Wednesday 2 November) as members of Ucatt voted by 85.5 per cent to merge with Britain’s largest union, Unite.
The landmark move sees Ucatt and Unite’s construction membership combining to form one union for the construction industry. Heralding the move, both unions put bad bosses on notice, saying their combined resources and expertise would zero in on ending bogus self-employment and stopping firms indulging in a race to the bottom by undercutting pay, terms and conditions.
With major infrastructure projects either coming on stream or in the pipeline, the unions said the move would also give construction workers a powerful voice in pressing for a joined up industrial strategy, securing good quality jobs and dramatically boosting the number of proper apprenticeships.
Over the coming weeks Unite and Ucatt will be finalising details ahead of Ucatt’s formal transfer to Unite on 1 January 2017.
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This is a historic moment for the construction industry and the men and women who work in it. From January 2017, construction workers will for the first time have one united powerful union on their side at work.
“Bad bosses and construction firms employing sharp practices should beware. Our new combined industrial voice will be used to defend the rights of construction workers across the UK and to campaign for secure decent jobs which pay the rate for the job.
“I look forward to working with our new colleagues and welcoming Ucatt members into the Unite family. Together we will be strong progressive voice for Britain’s construction workers and their industry.”
Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “By joining with Unite, the industrial muscle of all construction workers will double overnight, which is good news for all members.
“Employers are going to have to get used to dealing with one voice and one union. They need to understand that shoddy and underhand practices including; dismissing workers without warning, exploiting workers by paying them via agencies or umbrella companies and ignoring key safety laws will not be tolerated and will be exposed.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 or Barckley Sumner from Ucatt on 07802 329235.
Notes to editors:
- 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.