Electricians reject 7.5pc pay cut
CONSTRUCTION employers have suffered a blow after a major union rejected a proposal for a 7.5pc pay cut across the sector.
Members of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) have voted against a Labour Court recommendation that wage rates be slashed by this amount.
Employers represented by the Construction Industry Federation have accepted the recommendation -- although they originally sought a 20pc pay cut.
However, the final verdict will not be known until a meeting of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' Construction Industry Committee, made up of seven unions, in a couple of weeks.
The largest construction union, the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union, has not given its verdict on the court's recommendation as it is still consulting with members.
If accepted, the 7.5pc pay cut would become a new industry-wide norm, as it would replace an existing legally binding agreement governing the sector, known as a Registered Employment Agreement (REA).
If the other unions follow the TEEU's example, the proposal will be thrown out.
Sources said yesterday this could lead employers to challenge the constitutionality of REAs in the courts, as they have argued pay rates must be slashed due to the crisis in the industry.
The executive of the TEEU unanimously rejected the Labour Court's proposal at a meeting at the weekend.
"Our members would not thank us for accepting this pay cut," said general secretary Eamon Devoy.
"We do not believe that it would contribute anything to economic recovery, quite the reverse. It would continue to depress domestic demand."
He denied that the REA was making it difficult for employers to compete with employers from other jurisdictions, including Northern Ireland, as they are also obliged to comply with it.