Construction contracts that ‘exploit’ workers on Leeds university library spark demo

The UCATT union demonstrates against 'umbrella companies' at Shepherd Construction's University of Leeds library site today.
The UCATT union demonstrates against 'umbrella companies' at Shepherd Construction's University of Leeds library site today.
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A construction union has staged a protest in Leeds claiming workers are being “exploited” through zero hour contracts.

Demonstrators picketed outside the University of Leeds’s new £27.5million library development, in Woodhouse Lane, which is being built by Shepherd Construction, today.

The UCATT union claims many workers brought in by the firm were recruited by an employment agency, where they agree to a rate of pay but are contracted to a third party ‘umbrella’ firm. It claims workers are then paid minimum wage, which is part boosted through expenses and performance-related pay, so staff are struggling to make ends meet.

A Shepherd spokesman said subcontracting is “common practice”, and it requires firms to operate in “a legal and compliant” way.

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