UK - Construction firms are injecting more than £100m into pensions as part of a drive to attract more young, skilled workers.
The move follows a new pay deal brokered between unions, the Construction Confederation and individual employers to try to counter a shortage of workers in the industry.
Up to 600,000 workers are set to benefit from the deal which will see employers pay a minimum of 60p extra a week into staff pensions over a three-year period.
Construction Confederation director of industrial relations, Gerry Lean, said: “One of the industry’s biggest problems has been attracting and keeping people.
“One of our objectives in increasing pension contributions is to attract people into the industry and keep them there.”
Unions claim the deal is “good news for the workers and good news for the industry”.
Employers – including construction giants Balfour Beatty, Costain, Laing Murphy and McAlpine – will collectively pay £625,000 a week from June in extra pension contributions into the B&CE Management Scheme, the industry-wide plan for construction workers.
All major construction firms have agreed to increase pension contributions from £1.90 to £2.50 a week and employers will match voluntary contributions up to £10 a week from June 2004 – up from £7.50 a week.
Construction workers’ union UCATT general secretary, George Brumwell, said: “Employers have been worried about worsening skills shortages, but our success is more than that.
“I think people are beginning to realise that bricklayers, carpenters, scaffolders and all the other skills we have are more valuable to society than lawyers and bankers, estate agents and politicians.”
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