Labour will propose basic minimum standards across council procured construction contracts when it debates a motion to council in York this week (Thursday 14 December). The motion seeks to follow a number of other Yorkshire councils adopting a Construction Standards Charter, ensuring council procurement policy is used as a tool to achieve minimum standards within its construction contracts.
Councillor Danny Myers will propose Labour’s motion. He explains:
“The Charter provides a model for what an ethical and safe construction contract looks like. With the council procuring contracts for major building works, such as the recent Glen Lodge extension and the larger stadium contract through its leisure operator, it shows the power the council has to influence standards within the local construction industry.
“The charter prioritises development and training of workers, and ensuring those undertaking tasks are properly qualified with the relevant skills. Construction work is often dangerous, so it’s essential proper safeguards are in place. We also want to see a firm commitment to apprenticeships, something that doesn’t happen enough in order to train up the next generation to address the shortage of construction workers nationally.
“We hope councillors will also agree that while a Living Wage employer as a council, we can use procurement policies to ensure those winning construction contracts are too. Alongside this we’d expect to see the sorts of terms and conditions such as sick pay and paid annual holidays that are a given in the public sector. Construction workers’ conditions should be at least equal or better for the work that they do.
“And as well as this, we want to see health and safety policies adhered to in conjunction with any concerns and ideas raised by trade union representatives on the ground. They are often well placed to raise health and safety concerns that can easily be addressed and prevent a firm being exposed to compensation claims.
“Finally, the practice of blacklisting of trade union members and officials has received national attention, a practice that has blighted the lives of a great many families in this country. Any charter must be clear that blacklisting will not be accepted as part of any council contract”.
Councillors will debate the motion on Thursday 14 December at the Citadel on Gillygate, starting at 6.30pm.