Unite crane operators to ballot on extension of industrial action

unite-white-out-of-redUnion warns CIF that low pay is undermining foundations of recovery

June 30th: Unite, which represents 90 per cent of crane operators in Ireland, today announced that members will be balloting to extend the industrial action which started yesterday to additional sites. The ballot will close on Wednesday at 5 pm. The news comes at a time when profits per employee in the construction sector have more than doubled since 2012 while wages remain below 2004 levels.

Speaking after a general meeting of Unite crane operators this afternoon Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said:

“The strategy being adopted by the Construction Industry Federation – most recently in their application for an SEO cutting pay by up to 30% – is to boost their members’ profits by depressing the pay of workers.

“Since the recovery started in 2012, profits per employee in the construction have more than doubled. In contrast, construction wages are still below 2004 levels in real terms.

“The CIF should remember that workers are also consumers, and low-paid workers cannot afford the homes built by CIF members – nor can they spend in other sectors of the economy.

“Unite is determined to ensure that construction jobs are decent jobs paying decent wages.

“It is unfortunate that the CIF has declined to engage meaningfully with us in respect of crane operators’ legitimate demands. Our members have been left with no option but to take industrial action in pursuit of pay rises which reflect their level of skill and responsibility.

“At a general meeting of our members this afternoon, it was decided to ballot on whether to extend the industrial action which started yesterday to additional sites. That ballot will conclude next Wednesday (July 5th) at 5 pm.

“The likely disruption to construction activity is down to the CIF’s refusal to engage, and their low pay strategy which is bad for workers, bad for the economy, and bad for CIF members”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.

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