Workers on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) had to pay to receive their wages, Scottish Labour has claimed.
AWPR is the largest road-building project of its kind anywhere in Britain. When work started in 2015, it was hailed by Nicola Sturgeon as a “big win for local communities, businesses and road users.”
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions last week, party leader Richard Leonard told parliament the party has evidence of umbrella companies charging workers to access their wages on the flagship Aberdeen bypass.
According to Mr Leonard, the practice sees money deducted from payslips and described as a ‘company margin’.
He also told how construction companies in Scotland use umbrella companies, including employment agencies, to pay staff working on government contracts, which allows them to dodge tax, cut costs and exploit workers.
In the case of the AWPR, workers employed on constructing the route have been charged to be paid their wages from a number of umbrella firms, including DLP Payroll Solutions, Labour added.
Workers have shared their payslips with Unite the Union, showing the “margin charge”.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “The SNP government is handing over millions of pounds of public money to these companies and they are treating workers shamefully.
“Redacted pay slips from workers on the flagship Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project show that they were being charged for the privilege of being paid.
“Workers have been blatantly exploited on a contract funded by the SNP government. SNP ministers now must take steps to ensure this never happens again.”
Ms Sturgeon said the government would “look at any information that Richard Leonard wants to make available.”
She insisted her administration “has gone further than any government in the UK in terms of embedding fair approaches in things like the living wage, zero hours contracts, blacklisting into the public procurement process.”