November 6th: With Unite’s dispute with JJ Rhatigan & Co at its Kishoge Community College site well into its eighth week, the union took the opportunity to brief Oireachtas members on the dispute and the need for the Department of Education to act in order to prevent exploitation of workers on Government-funded projects.
A cross-party group of TDs, Senators and staff heard that workers on the Kishoge site have been forced into bogus self-employment, earning less than €5 per hour. Addressing the meeting, Unite Regional Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:
“The complex system of sub-contracting employed by JJ Rhatigan & Co has forced workers on a government-funded project into bogus self-employment earning less than €5 per hour. Put another way, workers building a school for our children earn less than the National Minimum Wage, and less than a third of the nationally agreed rate in the construction industry.
“The Department of Education needs to review its compliance mechanisms urgently to ensure that workers are not collateral damage when contracts are handed out to the lowest bidder.
“Unite is determined to ensure that no worker on a government-funded project is paid less than the nationally agreed rate for the job”, Tom Fitzgerald told the meeting.