Apprentices and tradesman assistants from the construction workers' union BJMF took their International Workers' Day message to the streets today by protesting against Metroselskabet, the company behind the Metro system. A group of protesters blocked the entrance of Metroselskabet's main office in Copenhagen, carrying banners reading "Stop salary dumping – More apprenticeships now!"
The aim of the demonstration was to protest against what the demonstrators characterise as poor salaries and working conditions for the workers of the Metro expansion, which is expected to be completed in 2018.
“The government and Metroselskabet have washed their hands by outsourcing the Metro project to the general contractor [Copenhagen Metro Team], which consistently hires the cheapest subcontractors. This has led to underpayment and lax security,” Laurits Lillelund, a carpenter apprentice and spokesperson for the protesters, said in a press statement.
He also claimed that there has been a higher rate of accidents in connection with the Metro expansion than at similar construction sites and criticised the government for supporting the importation of foreign workers and for “spending 22 billion kroner on a construction project in which too many workers are underpaid and where the working conditions are criticizable.”
The demonstrators also called for more tradesman apprenticeships.
“The Metro [construction] was, according to the City Council, supposed to create 400 apprenticeships, but it only created two. That is unacceptable when 10,000 young students need an apprenticeship,” Lillelund said.