Welcoming construction growth, Unite says workers must share in recovery

unite-white-out-of-redUnion has written to employers seeking engagement on new industry-wide agreement

Union says workers now earning less than in 2004

September 9th: Responding to the latest CSO figures showing that building construction output in the second quarter was up 7.2 per cent compared to the same period last year, trade union Unite today said that this growth must be reflected in workers’ pay.

Unite Regional Officer for Construction, Tom Fitzgerald, pointed out that mechanical workers have suffered pay cuts of up to 22% since 2011, and said the time had come for employers and unions to negotiate a new industry-wide agreement governing the mechanical contracting sector, registered in accordance with the new Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act.

“In 2011, because of the continuing downturn in the industry, pay cuts of up to 22% were agreed on the basis that the MEBSCA agreement would be registered. The agreement was never registered. However, since then MEBSCA company profits have increased while wages have continued to stagnate.

“A sample of companies examined by Unite indicated that operating profits doubled within just one year, between 2013 and 2014. The CSO figures published today show that the construction sector is continuing to grow at a very healthy rate.

“Yet mechanical workers have had no pay increase since 2010, and the 2011 pay cuts mean that their pay is actually less than the MEBSCA rates in 2004.

“While we welcome the recovery in the construction sector, workers must share in that recovery.

“Unite has written to the employers seeking engagement on an industry-wide agreement with universal application.

“A universal agreement governing the sector would benefit both workers and employers, ensuring that no employer is at a competitive disadvantage given the uniquely mobile nature of work in the construction industry”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.

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