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"Actions not more words" are needed to make Accord a success and ensure Fair Work for all across the Scottish construction industry

August 2, 2023

“Actions not more words” are needed if the new Scottish Construction Accord is to become a success and embed the principles of Fair Work for everyone across the sector.

That’s the view of Fiona Harper, Director of Employment & Skills at electrical trade association SELECT, who says it’s essential for the industry to work together to build a better future that embraces equality and improved working practices.

Speaking in a new video for the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), Ms Harper said: “Construction is a unique, vibrant, and fast-moving industry which  contributes significantly to the Scottish economy and relies on highly skilled people.

“The industry has long understood that collective bargaining is important in raising worker wellbeing and promoting progressive and fair workplace practices. However, it can be a hazardous workplace and there is evidence that  blacklisting and bullying still happens.

“We need to learn how to address gender inequality and  learn how to advance equality of opportunity; supporting employers to adopt and embed the fair and inclusive workplace practices negotiated by the employers and unions and provided for in the collective agreements into their businesses.

“If we get training and skills, procurement and supply chain issues right by working together, we will all make good headway towards achieving a Fair Work outcome for  the industry.”

Fiona – who is also The Secretary of the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) – added: “My call to action for the sector would be: Be proud, trust, build on what already exists and help make the Scottish construction industry thrive economically, socially, and environmentally.

“We have seen lots of reports undertaken about our industry in the past and I hope the Construction Accord will deliver actions not more words.”

Fiona is co-chair of the Fair Work Group on the Construction Accord’s Transformation Board alongside Lewis Hedge, who is the Scottish Government’s Deputy Director of Fair Work & Labour Market Strategy.

The duo were among industry leaders from across Scotland's public and private sectors who were recently appointed as co-chairs to develop ten core construction areas where transformation across the sector is needed most.

Their appointment followed the publication last October of the Accord, which is aimed at creating more successful businesses, enhancing working conditions for employees, improving the quality of construction and becoming a net zero industry.

The co-chairs will now bring together industry and government experts to develop and drive a transformation action plan, covering areas such as reforming procurement practices, increasing the use of digital technology and optimising modern methods of construction.

Once developed, the plan will be published on the CLF’s website with the programme project-managed by Scottish Futures Trust.

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