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To: Claus Grube, Danish Ambassador to the UK

Pay the rate: Stop Danish construction firms undercutting UK pay rates

Photo: Ildar Saydejev

We the undersigned call on the Danish Government to immediately conduct an investigation into exploitation and wage undercutting by two Danish companies working in the UK.

Why is this important?

Two Danish-owned firms working on major energy construction projects in the UK are exploiting migrant workers by employing them for 61% less pay than existing industry collective agreements.

The companies are constructing a number of energy from waste projects in the UK (including in Rotherham and Sandwich in Kent), which are being financed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, the investment arm of Pension Denmark.

Construction workers should be paid at least is £16.97 an hour with a bonus of £2.37 an hour under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). This reflects the difficulty and skill involved in these roles. Yet skilled non-UK workers on projects run by Babcock & Wilcox Vølund and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S reportedly are only paid the national minimum wage of £7.20 an hour.

Engineering construction workers and their unions Unite and GMB want these workers to get the going rate for their work. Allowing this exploitation undermines all other construction workers in the UK. Employers mustn't get away with using loopholes to avoid basic standards.

Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S are also refusing to recognise or allow unions access to all their UK projects.

Unite and GMB believe both companies are in breach of Pension Denmark's Corporate Social Responsibility Policy by failing to ensure their supply chains comply with local and international regulations.

These include ILO Conventions on freedom of association, the right to organise, and the right to collective bargaining. The UK’s Modern Slavery Act is also relevant here, with sections on transparency in the supply chain, social dumping, and exploitation relating to Non- UK contractors. Paying their employees wages so far below recognised pay structures, and still clawing back costs for accommodation allowance and return travel costs, are exploitative practices we don’t want to see becoming the norm in the UK.

The Danish Government must take responsibility for these companies and immediately conduct an investigation into how they are operating in the UK.

Reasons for signing

  • Greedy constuction firms are killing the potential for home grown talent to thrive within the contruction inductry. If they want to make a huge profits in this country all large construction to pay a fair wage to ALL employees and ensure the futute of the industry by creating stainable, non-exploitative apprenticeship schemes.
  • I signed because I think it is outrageous that firms, especially state backed firms, undertake actions in one country that would not be acceptable in their own. Also these short term, profit boosting tactics often come crashing down in the end. I would also hope our government would defend our workers but that is perhaps too much to ask.
  • All workers -no matter where they're from - deserve to be paid and treated fair and equally


2017-04-12 11:16:40 +0100

Unite and GMB take undercutting campaign to Denmark:

Members of Unite and GMB will on Monday (April 10) take their campaign to prevent undercutting of wages in the UK, to Denmark where the companies responsible are based.

Read more here:

2017-03-29 10:53:56 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2017-03-25 11:47:39 +0000

500 signatures reached

2017-03-24 13:20:56 +0000

100 signatures reached

2017-03-24 10:49:09 +0000

50 signatures reached

2017-03-24 09:43:34 +0000

25 signatures reached

2017-03-24 08:18:12 +0000

10 signatures reached