August 26th: Trade union Unite today welcomed the decision by contractor EHS Ltd. to pay five Unite members a lump sum in respect of underpayment of industry hourly rates, overtime and travel allowances on a school refurbishment project in Artane. The workers were employed by an agency – CLS Recruitment Ltd – working into EHS, and this latest victory follows a similarly successful resolution of a dispute on a school building project in Saggart, also involving CLS Recruitment Ltd.
Commenting, Unite Organiser Rob Kelly said: “This was the second time in less than a month that agency workers for CLS Recruitment Ltd. found themselves being paid just over half the agreed industry rate for mechanical workers. And for the second time, with the support of their union, workers had to resort to the picket line to vindicate their rights.
“Sharp operators are undermining the construction sector as a whole. Unite welcomes that fact that EHS decided to make up the shortfall incurred by CLS. We suspect that the Saggart and Artane cases are just the tip of the CLS iceberg, and would urge workers experiencing similar abuses to contact us.
“In the longer term, 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”, Rob Kelly pointed out.
Unite’s Regional Construction Officer Tom Fitzgerald added:
“Union membership remains the best defence against exploitation. It is clear that agency workers, in particular, are often unaware of their rights. Unite and the wider trade union movement is determined to ensure that sharp operators do not undermine the future of the construction sector by short-changing building workers”.