HS2 construction pay palaver
Over the last 12 months rail workers’ wages have soared by 11.6 per cent – about six times the average increase enjoyed by the bulk of employees and contract staff across the UK, reported the Daily Mail.
[Pay for rail construction workers soars a staggering 74% in last three years as demand grows for their skills, Ray Massey For Thisismoney.co.uk, 2 March 2015]
By contrast, over the same three year period, average wages in construction as a [whole has barely risen – from £582.50 in 2012 to £587.70 last year – an increase of just £5.20 or a fraction under 1 per cent (0.9 per cent rounded up). And they even fell slightly from £597.60 in 2013.
[…] Detail are revealed in a new report by the NoPalaver Group which provides accounting services to contractors.
[…] NoPalaver director Graham Jenner said: ‘This increase in wages is excellent news for workers and contractors, but there will be concern in some quarters that this could lead to the ultimate cost of HS2 spiralling up.
Rail infrastructure employment is heavily regulated, and general construction workers looking to the sector face barriers such as the need for Personal Track Safety certification. In effect, PTS functions as a form of modern-day medieval guild, but the ‘guild members’ are, for the most part, fairly low skilled.
What is odd is why most HS2 construction work sites would be classified as ‘railway’ for the purposes of employment, and health and safety. In essence, the line would be built with HGVs, and there would be no trains running until a fairly late stage in the programme schedule. A large proportion of the construction work would be low-skilled and generic (similar to building a new road or bus station, etc).