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B&ES and Unite reach operative agreement

According to the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) and the operatives’ trade union Unite, a new agreement will help to provide certainty of labour costs for employers in the sector over the next two-and-a-half years.

According to the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) and the operatives’ trade union Unite, a new agreement will help to provide certainty of labour costs for employers in the sector over the next two-and-a-half years.

Under the new B&ES Operative National Agreement – which relates to mechanical operatives across the building engineering services sector – wage rates and allowances will remain at their current level until Monday 6 October this year, when a wage increase of 2.5% on all hourly rates will be applied.

This will be accompanied by a corresponding rise in daily travelling allowance and Premium Rate 1 and Premium Rate 2 (which are used to calculate overtime rates), and in other allowances and provisions, including death, disability and accident benefits.

A second increase of 3% in the hourly rate and associated benefits will be introduced
with effect from further Monday 5 October 2015.

The employers’ contractual pension contribution will also rise, to 4% of basic pay in October 2014, to 4.5% in October 2015 and to 5% in October 2016.

In addition, the agreement introduces a reduction in the working week from 38 to 37.5 hours, a cut in the morning tea break to a quarter-of-an-hour, and the abolition of the afternoon tea break.

The single element of the agreement which is effective immediately is an increase in the level of weekly sick pay.

B&ES head of employment affairs and skills, Peter Rimmer, said: “As well as providing operative labour cost certainty over the next two-and-a-half years, the new arrangements significantly enhance productive time by removing the afternoon tea break and limiting the morning break to 15 minutes.”

“This has allowed a small reduction in the length of the working week which, effectively managed, should also lessen the need for overtime working.”

He added that the settlement continued the development – which had begun in 2009 of the contractual entitlement of employees to participate in an employers’ contributory pension scheme.

Mr Rimmer said: “The Association and the trade union have undertaken to continue their discussion of longer-term issues regarding pension provision under the agreement, including a more structured approach to securing employee contributions.”

 

Peter Rimmer, B&ES head of employment affairs and skills.

 

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