Queensferry Crossing workers return following pay dispute

Queensfeerry Crossing artWorkers on the £1.4 billion Queensferry Crossing construction project have reached a new deal with their employers after staging a walk-out in a pay dispute.

Around 50 workers, the majority of them employed by Galliford Try, downed tools on the Scottish Government’s flagship project yesterday afternoon as they believed they had been underpaid for the fortnight industry shutdown over Christmas and New Year, which begins today.

Following emergency talks it became clear that the company was currently unable to assess how much each worker was owed. In order to resolve the dispute it was agreed that each worker would receive £500 as an interim payment.

Each worker’s actual holiday entitlement will then be calculated in the New Year. If it transpires a worker has been overpaid this will be gradually clawed back from future wages in a way to avoid the worker experiencing a major financial detriment.

Harry Frew, regional secretary of UCATT in Scotland, which helped broker the deal, said: “We have brokered a sensible solution to an entirely preventable problem. Thankfully once the company recognised the depth of feeling amongst its workforce they worked with us to find a sensible solution.”

He added: “They have agreed to advance them an extra £500 each and deal with any outstanding issues after the New Year.

“There were a number of workers who felt that they were entitled to much more holiday pay, which is tied in with ongoing tribunal cases over pay and overtime.

“The company had said they would settle it but then the figures they paid in weren’t meeting what some people were expecting. They also didn’t provide a breakdown of how they’d reached those figures, so it was difficult to explain to people where these figures were coming from.

“They had said they would explain the settlement figures with an individual breakdown, but they didn’t do that, they just paid it straight into the workers’ bank accounts so there was some confusion.

“I’m happy with the outcome but if companies play the game it makes things much easier. It was a common sense approach they should have taken from the start.”

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