Electricians reap benefits of rush to finish Wembley

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The Independent Online

Electricians are being paid the equivalent of £100,000 a year in a desperate attempt to get the Wembley stadium finished.

They also enjoy free accommodation, which adds between £15,000 and £30,000 to the package.

The skilled employees are paid a basic £18 an hour for working a 10.5-hour shift each day, but actually receive 16 hours' worth of pay.

On Saturdays they work seven hours but are also paid as if they work 16 hours. They also receive a £20 a day living allowance. The main contractor Multiplex is prepared to pay "what it takes" to finish the stadium by the end of September having failed to complete the work in time for the FA Cup Final last Saturday.

Frank Westerman, from the Amicus union, said electricians on site thought they were worth more. "They have to undergo a long apprenticeship and they are working with a lethal product," he said. "This is the best deal in the industry at the moment, more than they're earning on Terminal 5 at Heathrow but you have to remember this a short-term situation."

The TB Worrall electricians at Wembley are benefiting from a row between Multiplex and a rival electrical contractor Phoenix. The latter has been scaling down its workforce after reportedly demanding cash up-front from Multiplex to finish its contract. In response Multiplex is encouraging TB Worrall to boost its workforce.

One source at the site told Construction News: "Multiplex looks like it will pay Worrall what it takes and fund it by withholding money from Phoenix."

Grant Prior, of Construction News, said there was no need for TB Worrall to look abroad for electricians. "Any electrician in Britain will work for those rates," he said. TB Worrall and Phoenix both declined to comment.