Over 100 employees employed by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have today (Wednesday 23 June) lodged a collective grievance raised by Unite and GMB against the organisation in respect of unresolved furlough pay issues dating as far back as the spring of 2020.

Pay chaos

At the beginning of the first lockdown in spring 2020, the CITB furloughed hundreds of its employees on a full or partial basis, before gradually bringing the majority of colleagues back later in the year.

The CITB, which is headquartered in Peterborough but employs workers throughout the UK, including at its construction college in Bircham Newton in Norfolk, utilised the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Major errors

Employees expected to receive 80 per cent of their salary whilst furloughed, however major errors occurred between CITB and its payroll provider SSCL that led to significant errors of both under and overpayments of salaries.

CITB have been attempting to resolve these pay issues since autumn 2020 and early in 2021 even contracted a third party to investigate and resolve the problems. 

Despite this, the CITB’s board remains unable to resolve the problem and it issued an internal communication earlier this month stating matters will not be resolved until September.

Long running saga

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Robinson said: “For months the unions have been attempting to resolve these matters with the board.

 “The overwhelming majority of CITB employees are salaried and see very little change in their pay from month to month.

“It should have been a simple task to ensure that employees pay whilst on furlough would be accurate.

“However some affected employees were paid in full whilst others received furlough rates of pay even though they were working or on holiday.

 “Even if we accept there were likely to be a few errors due to the communication challenges that working from home brings, the majority of CITB employees received the incorrect salary for months whilst on furlough.

 “This debacle has led to underpayment and overpayments of salary going into hundreds of pounds.”

 The situation has been made more complex as the CITB were also undertaking a staff reorganisation during this time, which has meant many affected workers now no longer work for the organisation.

Deep concern

Mr Robinson added: “As this has taken so long to resolve, dozens of former CITB employees have left as a result of the reorganisation programme not knowing whether they are owed or owe the CITB money.

“Remaining staff are deeply concerned that despite the relatively simple pay structure, the board cannot resolve these matters.

"As a result CITB employees have today tabled a collective grievance requesting the board resolves this matter sooner, discounts any employee debt by up to £300 and reviews its relationship with its outsourcing contractors to ensure a far higher quality of payroll services for CITB employees.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.