The Construction Industry Training Board has given its backing to The Journal’s Pay Fair campaign.
The body, which works to ensure construction employers have the right skills in place, said late payments could be “crippling” within the sector, particularly during tough economic times.
The comments come after John Dickson, chairman of the Dudley-based Owen Pugh Group, told The Journal in an interview there was a culture of “lies, deceit and hypocrisy” in some parts of the industry when it came to paying suppliers on time.
In a joint statement, CITB sector strategy manager for the North East Steve Housden and fairness, inclusion and respect manager Kate Lloyd said: “The Construction Industry Training Board would like to offer its strong support for the Journal’s recently launched Pay Fair campaign.
“Ninety-five per cent of the construction industry’s firms are SMEs, and most (85%) have fewer than 10 employees working for them. Swift and reliable payments streams are critical to those businesses, particularly in difficult times, not just to stay afloat but to be able to plan ahead.
“Witholding payment can be crippling for business and have a massive knock on effect on the local economy. We’d encourage construction firms in the region to pledge their support to the Pay Fair campaign and be aware of the damage that not paying on time can do.”
In an effort to tackle the problem - along with promoting a culture of fairness and respect in general among the sector - the CITB has launched an initiative known as the Be Fair Framework.
Developed in partnership with Constructing Equality, the scheme has seen it working with companies across Britain, helping them grasp the commercial benefit of understanding, embracing and harnessing the diversity of their workforces.
The first framework of its kind in the sector, it quickly received support from North East companies, with the Blyth-based Interceil, Northumbrian Roads Ltd in Prudhoe and Meldrum Construction Services, of Chester Le Street, being among the first to receive accreditations.
Steve Jones, director at Interceil, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Be Fair Framework. We’re committed to promoting fairness and inclusion in the workplace so that our employees and others working in construction feel welcome and respected.”
Ms Lloyd added: “Support from organisations like Interceil is what we need to help address the industry’s lingering image problem, change negative cultures and improve its diversity credentials.”
Through the Pay Fair campaign, The Journal is encouraging North East companies of all sizes to take a responsible and ethical approach to paying firms within their supply chain.
We are asking firms to sign the Business Ethics Pledge created by the North East Institute of Business Ethics, thereby agreeing to join with others to discuss the value of business ethics and to work with each other to transform their working environments for the better.
For more information, see http://www.nibe.org.uk/