Building Workers Know Your Rights Campaign have a couple of public meetings coming up this Wednesday and Thursday.
The campaign highlights wage exploitation in the construction industry. Its aim is to get more workers organised to fight for their rights, their pay and their conditions.
Andrew Keegan, a co-organiser of for the campaign, explains the motives behind the movement.
” Our campaign is to get all construction workers unionised. We felt there is a need for construction workers to discuss amongst colleagues and generate a debate on site- to convince our workforce that union recognition is a priority.”
On the 19th of October last year, new a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) framework was put into effect for the construction industry.
The principal terms of the SEO dealt with the subjects of new minimum hourly rates*,
unsocial hour rates to provide time and a half and double time, mandatory pension and sick pay schemes and guidelines on dispute resolutions.
This Order is legally binding, and employers must abide by the rules laid out in it. But employers are ignoring the SEOs and exploiting the fact the majority of our construction workers are not organised in a union.
Our campaign welcomes all workers and unions to discuss what are the benefits of being unionised and acting to secure agreed rates on site including overtime.
“Historically, there is a massive distrust and no respect of the trade union movement in the construction sector, and I would say for good reason.
We feel this impression has to be changed by construction workers ourselves and as time is of the essence construction workers have to get organised now and not later.
As every year passes, on average, every worker not paid the SEO is down at least over €2000.”
This money is owed by right and is an abuse which the campaign centres on. But there are also other issues of concern for the campaign.
Bogus Self Employment
Subcontractors getting ripped off
Living and working condition
Exploitation of migrant construction workers.
Use of Agencies
*The rates of pay as laid down by the SEO are as follows:
New entrant workers get €13.77 per hour. There is no change as they get the same rate as before.
Category I workers – general operatives: €17.04 per hour. This is a 10% increase
Category 2 workers – skilled general operatives, advanced scaffolders, banks men, steel fixers, crane operators and heavy plant operators: €18.36. This is a 10% increase
Craft workers – bricklayers, carpenters, glaziers, painters, plasters, tillers: €18,93. This is a 10% increase