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Council signs charter to protect construction workers and ensure building projects meet highest standards

PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 11 September 2019

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz signed the Unite Construction Charter alongside Unite national officer Jerry Swain and the Greater London Authority (GLA) deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray. Picture: Newham Council

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz signed the Unite Construction Charter alongside Unite national officer Jerry Swain and the Greater London Authority (GLA) deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray. Picture: Newham Council

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The council has committed to improving work conditions and construction standards on building projects in the borough.

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has signed up to trade union Unite's construction charter, guaranteeing projects under the council's control will now meet the highest standards.

It means building contractors and sub-contractors must provide apprentice training, a safe working environment, and the industry rate of pay to workers.

The charter ensures workers have the right to speak out on safety issues and protects them from blacklisting, exploitation and "bogus self-employment".

By signing, the council has also agreed to a number of actions to help improve construction standards and outlaw poor building practices.

Ms Fiaz said: "I am proud that this administration has been able to make another step forward on behalf of our employees by signing up to the charter.

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"Without our hard working construction staff we would not be able to achieve the ambitious housing and regeneration targets I have set for the council, and which put us at the leading edge of social rent house building across London.

"The charter will not only improve employment standards for construction workers employed by this council, but also ensure that building projects undertaken by the council are delivered to the highest standard."

Ms Fiaz signed the charter at City Hall on Wednesday, September 11 alongside the Greater London Authority (GLA) deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray and Unite's national officer Jerry Swain.

Mr Murray said: "We very much welcome the London Borough of Newham signing up to Unite the Union's Construction Charter, ensuring that projects in Newham will lead the way with the best construction practices."

Unite's London and eastern regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said the charter combined the authorities' procurement power with the union's influence in the workplace.

"The mayor of Newham, mayor of London and Unite are joining forces to ensure our world class capital city has world class employment standards for construction workers," he said.

The signing of the charter comes soon after the council began paying its indirectly employed care staff the London Living Wage.

The charter is also in line with Ms Fiaz's community wealth building agenda, which will see the council invest money to unleash the borough's economic potential.

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