Unite ‘misinterpreted’ claim of umbrella company ban says Balfour Beatty

Recent report of a North West ban on umbrella companies agreed by Balfour Beatty has been clarified according to Construction Manager Magazine.

According to the article, Balfour Beatty said the news was based on a “misinterpretation” though agreed that the issue had been under discussion.
The company said, “Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald regularly talk to union representatives as part of our workforce engagement practices.

“We note Unite’s recent news release regarding our Highways England Area 10 contract. We are speaking to Unite to correct a misinterpretation of our recent dialogue.

“The vast majority of the Balfour Beatty Mott Macdonald workforce are PAYE.

“We can confirm that agency operatives engaged by Balfour Beatty within the Area 10 contract are usually offered permanent employment following three months’ work.”

Following Unite’s news of the alleged ban, Julia Kermode, chief executive of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association said, “As the professional membership body for umbrella employers, FCSA is committed to compliance and to protecting the workforce from exploitation by unscrupulous firms. Compliant umbrella firms employ workers, ensuring that they are entitled to all 84 statutory benefits and rights of employment, whilst also giving them the freedom to undertake short-term assignments for a variety of end-clients. In short, it is the best of both worlds, all the flexibility of contracting plus all the benefits of employment. Because umbrella employment is so innovative, firms that engage large numbers of contingent workers, must not be misled by Unite’s campaign and make rash decisions which would be to the detriment of its workforce.”

On the clarification of Balfour Beatty’s position, James Burrows, Director of Danbro Workforce Solutions and former employee of Balfour Beatty said,

“After nearly 10 years of working with various Balfour Beatty Operating Companies, I must admit I was shocked to see the statement released by Unite, however, I am relieved to see Balfour Beatty’s prompt response to clarify their position.

In my experience, Balfour Beatty are an industry leader in Supply Chain Management, with a strong emphasis on understanding and mitigating risk. To manage risk in your internal operations is one thing, but to manage risk throughout your supply chain requires an unwavering commitment from the top. An attempt to blindly eliminate risk in this scenario could be suicidal; experience tells us that this risk will only resurface and manifest itself in other areas.

The offering of permanent employment to workers who have been contracted for three months is admirable, however, there is still the question on how those who have been contracted for shorter periods are supported. Compliant umbrella employment benefits both the individual and the end client and remains a valuable, viable and necessary offering in the UK, especially across the construction sector, which is heavily reliant on a contingent workforce.”


About Danbro

Formed in 1999 by co-founders Damian Broughton MBE and Helen Broughton MBE, the Danbro Group provides accountancy, taxation, umbrella employment and CIS solutions to businesses, freelancers, contractors and sub-contractors throughout the UK, supporting business growth and careers to create a future full of opportunity.

If you’d like more information about this topic or how Danbro can help you – please get in touch with us on 01253 600 140

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