UCATT members vote to join Unite

UCATT members during the protest at a Dumfries hospital
UCATT members during the protest at a Dumfries hospital

The proposed merger between UCATT and Britain’s largest union Unite has been confirmed after 85.5 per cent of the construction union’s members voted in favour of the move last week.

The landmark move sees UCATT and Unite’s construction membership combining to form one union for the construction industry

Once details are finalised, the formal transfer will take effect from 1 January 2017.

Heralding the move, both unions said 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.

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 added: “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.”

Last week also saw UCATT begin a series of protests at Laing O’Rourke’s hospital project in Dumfries after the union claimed its officials were refused normal access to the site.

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