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Deal reached over building services contractor salary increases

Latest set of talks between Unite and BESA reach an agreement on gradual increases in pay over next two years with future discussions set to look at skills issues

Individuals working in the building services contracting sector can expect salary increases of over five per cent by 2020 on the back of recent national negotiations between employer groups and trade unions.

BESA has said that in its role as industry employer representative, a 2.5 per cent annual increase in wages will come into effect this October following talks with the Unite union.

An additional 2.75 per cent rise will be introduced by October 2019.

The agreements were reached as part of the second phase of an ongoing four-year settlement on national operative wage for the industry. The first phase commenced in October 2016 and runs until September 2018, setting out commitments for index benefits and an additional day of paid annual holiday entitlement that comes into effect from February 2020.

Both parties described the process as “positive and constructive” as they confirmed the second phase of the four-year national operative wage settlement. Phase One, which covered October 2016 to September 2018, included a forward commitment of improved index benefits and an additional day of paid annual holiday entitlement, effective from February 2020.

BESA and Unite said that both organisations would continue to hold dialogue to try and tackle shared concerns in areas such as potential skill shortages and issues concerning apprenticeship recruitment.

BESA head of employment Paula Samuels said that a positive collaboration between the association and Unite had led to an agreement that could be seen as fair to the interests of both employers and employees in the building services industry.

She added that constructive dialogue was increasingly important at a time of heightened economic and supply chain uncertainty as a result of Brexit negotiations and the collapse of Carillion earlier this year.

BESA president Tim Hopkinson, wo served as chief negotiator in the talks with the union, said that challenges facing the industry had made future planning “very tricky”.

He added, “However, we also have solid grounds for optimism. There is growing demand for our specialist skills and expertise as the UK embarks on an ambitious infrastructure programme and seeks to upgrade its commercial and residential building stock.”

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