The CIJC Working Rule Agreement: An Overview

What is it?

The Construction Industry Joint Council (“CIJC”) Working Rule Agreement is an agreement that governs the terms and conditions of employment for certain construction workers where the employer chooses to incorporate them. The terms of the agreement are negotiated between the CIJC and various trade unions. It is one of the most significant industrial agreements in the construction industry.

What does the CIJC Agreement Cover?

The CIJC Working Rule Agreement covers a wide range of employment related matters including:

  1. Pay arrangements. The Working Rule Agreement outlines the rates of pay for various job roles and classifications within the construction industry. This includes details on basic hourly rates, overtime rates, and other allowances.
  2. Working Hours. The agreement details standard working hours, arrangements for overtime and rest periods to ensure fair working conditions.
  3. Holiday arrangements.
  4. Sickness absence arrangements and benefits.
  5. Dispute resolution procedures and considerations.

The CIJC Working Rule Agreement can be updated and varied from time to time as negotiated by trade unions. It is therefore always important for employers utilising the CIJC Working Rule Agreement to ensure they refer always to the latest versions.

What is the latest update under the CIJC Working Rule Agreement?

In a two stage CIJC deal it has been recently agreed that workers will receive a further 1.5% pay increase from 1 January 2024 which delivers a compound increase in pay of around 7.6% in total. In addition to this, the lowest pay rate for labourers was increased by 8% in July 2023. Other changes include an increase to the Industry Sick Pay which will be raising from £154.02 to £156.33 per week from January 2024.

Can you change the terms of employment for an employee under a CIJC Working Rule Agreement?

The short answer to this is no. The employee is engaged under the terms of the CIJC Working Rule Agreement which the employer has agreed to by incorporating the terms to their employment contract. This means that any employers will be bound by the Working Rule Agreement and any changes which are negotiated by the trade unions.

If an employer were to change an employee’s terms of employment, even with consent of the employee, and the sole or main purpose is to remove the employee from the Working Rule Agreement there is potential liability for claims arising. Assuming the employee is a member of a trade union it can give rise to a fixed value claim. Dependent on the wider circumstances there could also be breach of contract or constructive unfair dismissal scenarios arising.

If any such need arose to consider varying terms the situation would need to be carefully considered and managed. Due to the risks involved we would always suggest taking legal advice.

What are the benefits for any employer under the CIJC Working Rule Agreement?

Whilst the restrictions on being able to choose or vary terms may make utilising the CIJC Working Rule Agreement a more unattractive option it does have a number of benefits for employers.

These include:

  1. Standardised terms – The nature of the Working Rule Agreement can simplify processes for employers hiring new employees as there is not a need to negotiate terms. In a similar manner, managing employees and their expectations can be easier as everyone is engaged on identical terms.
  2. Industry Stablisation – The CIJC Working Rule Agreement is designed to promote industrial harmony allowing employees to be engaged on terms which have been negotiated on their behalf by their trade unions.
  3. Talent attraction – The CIJC Working Rule agreement can provide attractive options for workers looking for predictable, stable and fair packages which assists employers maintaining a reliable workforce.
  4. Reduced Staff Turnover – Due to the nature of the Working Rule Agreement employers may see increased job satisfaction as, generally speaking, the employees will be content with the wages and working conditions as they have again been negotiated on their behalf.

If you have any questions about engaging employees on CIJC Working Rule Agreement or on ordinary employment contracts please contact us to speak with our Employment Team who will be happy to assist.

Samuel Gray
Solicitor, Employment
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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