August 4th: Unite has announced that it will be placing pickets on the Scoil Mhuire school building project in Saggart, Co. Dublin, from 7 am tomorrow morning (Tuesday August 5th). The action follows a ballot of the union’s members in CLS Recruitment Group Ltd, one of the companies supplying workers for the project.
Unite Organiser Rob Kelly explained the background to the dispute:
“Notwithstanding an agreement with the Department of Education that the rates agreed throughout the construction industry will apply to the schools building programme, Unite has found significant abuses of workers on the Saggart project.
“Despite the agreed construction mechanical rate being €21.42, our members in CLS are being paid less than €11 per hour (or around half the agreed rate), while also working an extra two-and-a-half hours per week for no extra payment. Our members are also not receiving travel payments, and pension contributions are not being made.
“At the same time, the employer is benefitting from the workers’ tax credits since most of them have been out of work for long periods of time.
“CLS Recruitment is just one of a number of agencies working on the Saggart and other school building projects.
“Following unsuccessful attempts to resolve the issues with CLS, we balloted our members and served strike notice on July 24th. The company referred the matter to the LRC and we will be engaging with them there tomorrow. In the meantime, we will be placing pickets on the Saggart site from 7 am tomorrow morning (Tuesday August 5th).
“Unite is very appreciative of the support we have received from the TEEU and OPATSI.
“This issue goes beyond CLS. By failing to honour its commitment to ensure that all workers on school building projects are paid the agreed rates, the Department of Education is undermining terms and conditions throughout the construction industry. Unite and the wider trade union movement is determined to put an end to this race to the bottom”, Rob Kelly concluded.