TCD protest hears workers’ rights being abused on publicly-funded project

unite-white-out-of-redTime to turn off contract stream to rogue employers

July 11th:  Unite, which organises construction workers, held a protest this morning (Thursday) at the site of TCD’s new Oisin House student accommodation block on Pearse Street.

The main contractor on the publicly-funded project is Bennett Construction, but mechanical works are being carried out by a sub-contractor, GMG Mechanical.  Unite has learnt that GMG Mechanical have been found to be paying workers less than the minimum rates stipulated in the Sectoral Employment Order governing mechanical workers.

It is illegal to pay workers below SEO rates, and Unite’s Regional Officer for Construction, Tom Fitzgerald, told this morning’s protest that Oisin House is just the latest in a series of publicly funded projects where, he said, “employers are cutting corners by cutting workers’ rights”.

“A few weeks ago, Unite joined with other unions to protest at bogus self-employment on the flagship National Children’s Hospital site.  Today, we are protesting illegal pay rates at a project on the site of Ireland’s oldest university, Trinity College Dublin.

“The state must start using its considerable purchasing power to exclude companies found to be abusing workers’ rights from bidding for public contracts.

“Public contracts are funded by the taxpayer, and it is unacceptable that the taxpayer should be effectively forced to subsidise rogue employers”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.

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