Unite placing pickets on Artane school refurbishment project in bid to secure industry pay rates

unite white out of redUnion says Dept of Education treating workers’ rights as optional extra

August 24th: Unite today announced that it will be placing pickets on the St David’s NS school refurbishment project in Artane, Dublin 5, from 7 am tomorrow morning (Monday August 25th). The action follows a ballot of Unite members working on the project and employed by the CLS Recruitment Group. At between €12 and €13.65 per hour, the workers are being paid around half the agreed industry mechanical rate of €21.42 per hour, while being forced to work an extra ‘free’ hour overtime per week. In addition, pension contributions are not being paid and a portion of the workers’ wages is being paid in cash. Unite estimates that each of the workers affected has been underpaid between €2000 and €2700, while the employer is benefiting from the workers’ tax credits since most of them have been out of work for considerable periods.

Following a similar dispute at the beginning of the month, involving workers employed on a school building project in Saggart, Unite secured a lump sum payment totalling €22,400 for eight workers in respect of underpayment of the rates, overtime and travel.

Commenting, Unite organiser Rob Kelly said:

“In the final analysis, it is up to the Department of Education – which funds school building and refurbishment projects – to ensure that agreed industry rates are paid in all cases. It is unacceptable that a Government department should be helping undermine terms and conditions in the construction sector.

“Workers’ rights are not an optional extra.

“This is the second time this summer Unite has been forced to place pickets on a school construction project to secure proper terms and conditions for our members. While we hope that it will also be the last time, we will continue taking whatever action is necessary to ensure that our members’ rights are vindicated.

“Unite appreciates the support we have received from the TEEU and OPATSI. The trade union movement is determined to put an end to this race to the bottom – a race in which everyone, from the workers to the Exchequer and the wider community, is a loser”, Rob Kelly concluded.

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