Ten thousand plumbers will get a 3 per cent pay rise from January 2011 after the union Unite reached agreement with the Joint Industry Board for Plumbing and Mechanical Engineering Services.
The union said the deal would help employers control their costs in the face of tight economic circumstances.
The agreement covers 10,000 workers directly but will also be used as a benchmark for other employers in the sector who are not part of the joint industry board.
Unite said this meant another 10,000 workers could benefit from the deal.
The agrement means that plumbers will get a 3 per cent increase to their rates and allowances from January next year. They will get the same again in January 2012.
The union and the board also agreed improvements in holiday pay and overtime, which will now be paid from 37.5 hours rather than 39 hours.
Unite national officer John Allot (pictured) said: “This agreement is in the best interests of both workers and employers.
“It secures two years of pay increases but allows employers to control their costs during a time of massive spending cuts.
“Crucially, it maintains the integrity of the national agreement which ensures that there is stability across the industry.
“We will be using this deal in future negotiations in the sector to show that it is both possible and necessary, for the sake of recruitment and retention to ensure that the skills and dedication of construction workers are recognised even during difficult times.”