Crane drivers need a lift: Unite working towards industry agreement

unite-white-out-of-redLow wages and precarious working endemic in sector

April 26th: Unite, which organises 85% of tower crane operators in Ireland, today announced that it is sending out a draft industry agreement to the Construction Industry Federation and individual employers.  The move is part of a campaign to address the low wages and precarious working arrangements which are endemic in the sector, which is dominated by agency working.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said:

“When the recession hit the construction industry in 2008, workers were forced to take a succession of cuts – but employers are reluctant to share the fruits of recovery with their workers.  Wages remain depressed, and many employers do not pay overtime.  Some refuse to issue pay slips, and effectively rob their workers of hours and holiday pay.

“Crane drivers are amongst the most skilled workers in the construction industry – and their job is among the most stressful.  Every lift has the potential to cause damage, injury or death, and operators are accountable for maintenance of complex machinery.  Yet they face low wages and precarious working conditions.

“Unite has today written to the Construction Industry Federation and individual employers proposing a draft industry agreement providing a fair basis for the employment of tower crane operators.  We hope that employers will engage with us and reach agreement to avoid any disruption.

“Ireland’s crane drivers need a lift – and Unite is working with them to ensure they get it”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.

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