Unite describes CITB job cuts and restructuring as a ‘hammer blow’ for Norfolk and construction industry

Unite, the largest union in the UK construction industry and the principal union at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), has expressed anger following the organisation’s announcement that it proposes to radically alter its structure putting a large number of jobs at risk of redundancy or outsourcing.
Proposals include

  • Moving head office functions currently based in Bircham Newton, Norfolk and London to a new site in the Peterborough area
  • Outsourcing all back office operations including IT, human resources and estates
  • Cease providing training directly and divesting these courses to other training providers.

The CITB has made the announcement of massively reducing its activities within weeks of completing its triennial review of the organisation’s right to continue to collect a statutory construction levy from employers.
Although construction employers and trade associations voted for the levy to continue there was heavy criticism of how the CITB currently operates.
Unite national officer for construction, Jerry Swain, said: “These plans are a hammer blow for the construction industry and for the workers at the CITB.
“Thousands of construction workers owe their careers and their livelihoods to the unique training they have received at Bircham Newton.
“There are grave doubts if any private provider could or would provide the same level of training at the same cost, which is currently provided at this unique facility.
“It appears that the ‘reforms’ being proposed by the CITB are all about increasing profits for individuals and companies and not what is in the best interests of the construction industry.
“Construction is already facing a skills crisis and it is quite impossible to see how the CITB’s decision to end its role in providing training is not going to simply make a bad situation worse.
“The Government must step in to ensure that these vitally important tutors and training facilities are not lost and that training is not downgraded.”
Regional co-ordinating officer, Mark Robinson, who represent the workforce said: “These proposals essentially would slash trash and privatise the CITB.
“The likelihood of finding a training provider willing and capable to take on the National Construction College function of the Bircham Newton site and other NCC sites across the country is difficult to ascertain and puts hundreds of jobs at serious risk.
“Unite believes it is totally unnecessary to go to this level of change. For the CITB not to provide their own training on behalf of industry leaves the market wide open for less capable and reputable organisations to drive down the quality and standards that the industry expects.
“Unite will be seeking the views of its members to see what action can be taken to defend the hundreds of jobs not only in West Norfolk but throughout the country.”