Building urged to embrace direct employment

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The front page of the JIB report

The rise in self-employment, casual work and off-site work has adversely affected the productivity and skills of the construction industry, according to a new report on employment structures in industry.

The Direct Employment – A Study of Economic, Business and Social Outcomes Based on the Electrical Business Sector, authored by Howard Gospel, Professor Emeritus of Management at King’s College London, and published by the Electrotechnical Joint Industry Board (JIB), The Report Directs Employment, Welfare and training in the electrical industry.

According to the JIB, the questions raised apply not only to one’s own area of ​​electrical installation, but also to the entire construction industry in general.

With the introduction of changes to IR35, which should come into effect on April 6, 2021, the JIB is campaigning against non-direct, non-remunerated activities and trying to encourage companies to hire employees directly. This report highlights the benefits.

This move is supported not only by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) but also by the government’s Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

In a joint foreword to the report, Andy Mitchell, Co-Chair of CLC, and Gail Cartmail, President of TUC write: “The report recognizes that subcontracting and self-employment remain essential features of electrical installation and other parts of the construction industry. However, in recent decades the equilibrium has strayed too far from direct employment. If industry and government priorities for this and the coming decades are to be met – safety, quality, skills, efficiency and innovation, for example – a healthier and more sustainable balance must be restored now. “

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They add: “The trade union movement has long called for higher levels of direct employment in construction. For the past 18 months, the Construction Leadership Council has added its voice to this call, expressing direct employment not only as a good thing in itself, but also as an essential “enabler” for other goods, including apprenticeships, digital learning and skills. “

Prof. Gospel says in his report: “The UK’s withdrawal from direct employment cannot be explained as some sort of ‘natural’ phenomenon or the ‘inevitable’ consequence of increased competition in the marketplace. It is the result of specific actions and decisions made over many years by industrial customers, contractors and successive governments – not least in the key areas of procurement, taxation, social security and labor law. “

Jay Parmar, Managing Director of JIB, said: “Despite far more non-direct work in the UK than almost anywhere else in the world and the well-documented negative impact on (among other things) productivity, skills and abilities in construction safety, leadership and collective will, To do something about this problem has long been lacking. This report therefore calls for a comprehensive and sustained campaign to reverse this trend. This is an integral part of the ongoing effort to build a better, more productive, more skilled and sustainable UK construction industry.

“Customers and large business owners must act now and demonstrate their leadership role by placing contracts with companies that employ their people directly and by enforcing direct employment and greater transparency in their supply chains. We must also unite to promote public policy changes that remove artificial incentives for false self-employment and false direct employment through the tax system. Only in this way can we hope to offer those working in the industry a better future now and in the future. “

The full report can be downloaded from the JIB website.

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