Unite Concerned By “Influx of Cowboy Companies” In Construction Industry

Unite the union has today expressed its concern at what it describes as an “influx of cowboy companies” operating in the construction industry.

A statement continued: “Construction workers materialise the ideas that architects translate into plans and sketches, however, their participation in the building of buildings is generally taken for granted, and their work not recognised. They perform a tough job, sometimes badly paid and with poorly conditions when employed by “cowboy” construction companies.  In addition, their occupation is usually eventual, a lot of the works are short term.
“Building a building implies collaborative, multidisciplinary work, not only among architects and civil engineers, but with tradesmen and women.
 
“We need to remind some contractors that they are required to abide by certain legal standards. This comes about as a surge of unscrupulous employers within the industry, not only are they NOT abiding by the construction and allied trades agreement, but even worse, in breach of the minimum standards set out in the employment legislation in Gibraltar. 
 
“The growing list of complaints from our members includes, the non-payment of wages on the agreed date, incurring financial hardship on our members who in some cases have been owed, up to three months of their hard earned income. The unlawful deduction of wages, the undercutting of agreed rates of pay/overtime and not been issued with a pay slip, which is a requirement under Gibraltar’s employment legislation.  These are a few of many examples of the growing list of complaints by members.”
 
Gillian Birkett Regional Officer of Unite the Union said: “In some of the current cases we have initiated our internal processes, with a view to filling a number of complaints in the industrial tribunal.  Unite is coming to the point where we will name and shame and campaign against these “cowboy companies”.
“It is essential that main construction companies and sub-contractors abide by requirements for the protection of workers. They are designed to ensure appropriate payments are made, and to make sure that a work environment is safe for everyone’s benefit including the employer.
 
“Many of these “cowboy companies” have been contracted by Gibraltar’s leading companies and we therefore call on all of Gibraltar’s main contractors, to ensure that any hired labour abide to local standards”.