Government-owned HS2 Ltd and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have agreed a framework for discussing employment issues during the construction of the new high speed rail link.
The company said the agreement demonstrates its commitment ‘to work together with the trade union movement to lead a safe, diverse and inclusive workforce with a strong voice’ and would maximise the economic and labour benefits of the line.
The ‘initial framework agreement’ was signed by HS2 Ltd chief executive Simon Kirby and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
It sets out how the partners will discuss issues concerning the employment, development, diversity and inclusion of people working throughout the project’s supply chain.
It also provides a platform for future work package agreements to be to be agreed directly between contractors and unions with support from HS2 Ltd and the TUC.
Ms O’Grady said: ‘HS2 is a massive opportunity for workers in the construction and rail sectors. We look forward to working with HS2 and our member unions to ensure that equality, safety and respect are at the heart of the project. HS2 is key for creating jobs, driving economic growth, and narrowing the north-south divide. It's a much-needed investment boost in our railways.
‘This agreement commits all those delivering HS2 to maximising benefits to the UK supply chain, crucial at a time when we are discussing the future of the UK steel industry.’
Mr Kirby said: ‘Our mission is to be a high-performing, innovative organisation that delivers value for money by applying the best in worldwide design and construction techniques.
‘To accomplish this mission we need to lead a safe, valued and effective workforce. This fundamental agreement underlines our responsibility as a direct employer as well as a commitment to the wider workforce that will deliver HS2 across our supply chain.’
As part of the agreement, HS2 Ltd and the TUC have committed to a series of shared values including:
- The importance of respect at work
- A commitment to equalities, diversity and inclusion
- A commitment to exemplary health, safety and wellbeing
- A commitment to legacy, maximising economic and social regeneration