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Probe widened into alleged low pay on iconic new bridge

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A PROBE into alleged low pay on the new road Forth road bridge has widened, with random checks on a further five sub-contractors, MSPs have heard.

It follows a claim by the construction union UCATT that Portuguese sub-contractor Sosia Ltd was paying joiners and labourers around £4 and £2.50 an hour below the respective industry minimums of £11.61 and £8.73.

Project director David Climie said the The Forth Crossing Bridge Company (FCBC), the consortium behind the £1.4billion Queensferry Crossing, had found no evidence to support the claims, but was nonetheless making random checks on other sub-contractors.

He told Holyrood’s Transport Committee: “There are allegations about a Portuguese subcontractor, they have 29 people working on site.

“FCBC contacted that company and they sent a letter immediately confirming they take full import of the rates and import of all the rules and regulations.

“The union subsequently wrote to [Economy Secretary] Keith Brown and asked him to investigate further, and as a result of that FCBC has taken payslips from some of the individuals involved to determine what they are being paid.

“All investigations show all the rates of pay are at or above the correct rates and there are no incorrect deductions.

“FCBC decided to widen that further and selected another five sub contractors at random.

“That evidence is still being gathered but to date absolutely nothing has been found to back up these allegations regarding low pay.”

A Home Office investigation last month led to allegations seven workers from India had breached immigration rules, and Mr Climie told MSPs the workers had now been removed.

He said the bridge was on course for completion in May, subject to the winter weather.

UCATT regional secretary Steve Dillon said: “We want a thorough investigation done and not for a company just to turn round and say they are paying the right rates.”

Source : HeraldScotland

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