Date Released: 18 July 2014
The Construction Group of Unions has announced that it is to stage a number of protests at school buildings and other projects throughout the country as part of its Campaign for Decent Work in the Construction Industry.
The campaign will commence on Friday, 18th July, with a protest outside St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, starting at 7.00 a.m. This will be followed by a protest outside the Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1.
The unions have stated that despite informing the Department of Education and Skills of the continued abuse of workers on school projects, the race to the bottom on these and other public contracts continues.
Workers are being forced to work as self-employed, despite the fact that they are clearly employees. This is done to drive wages even lower and to deny the workers concerned their pension and death-in-service entitlements as well as legal protection for holiday pay and other basic employment rights.
The unions are aware of skilled tradespeople being paid as little as €250 a week on these sites, while other employees have complained to the unions that they have received no payments in the last month.
In spite of the fact that the Irish taxpayer is paying for these projects, few opportunities are given to local skilled building workers or unemployed apprentices to get back to work. Employment agencies, some of very dubious repute, are sourcing most of their exploited cheap labour from outside the state.
The Department of Education and Skills, despite knowing of these abuses for over two years, has continued to award new contracts to the contractors involved.
As the Department of Education and Skills either cannot or will not restore order, the unions must be given access to workers and contractors on site to end these abuses once and for all.
This campaign will intensify and will continue until the practice of forcing workers to be self-employed ceases and until decent working conditions are restored to the industry.