Decision places question-mark over party’s commitment to workers’ rights
February 12th: Unite today expressed disappointment at the Labour Party’s decision to use a JJ Rhatigan & Co site as the setting for the launch of their affordable homes policy yesterday.
Towards the end of 2014, the company became embroiled in a protracted dispute with Unite over their use of a complex web of sub-contracting and self-employment which resulted in workers ended up being paid less than €5 per hour at the publicly-funded Kishoge Community College building project. This was considerably less than the Minimum Wage, and less than half the Living Wage. The Labour Court found that the workers’ rights had been breached and recommended payment of compensation, while the Department of Social Protection’s SCOPE Department found that the workers had in fact been employed and ordered the company to pay PRSI owed.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said:
“I was extremely disappointed to see Labour Ministers Alan Kelly and Jan O’Sullivan launching their ‘affordable homes’ policy against a JJ Rhatigan & Co backdrop only a year after the company was found to be in breach of workers’ rights. It was particularly surprising to see Minister O’Sullivan, who as Minister for Education with responsibility for school building projects was very well aware of the Kishoge situation, lending respectability to a rogue employer with this photo-op.
“The decision to use a JJ Rhatigan site for an election stunt was, at best, ill-considered – and, at worst, places a question-mark over the party’s commitment to workers’ rights”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.