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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Unite workers to picket school project over pay rates

Gareth Naughton

Published 05/08/2014 | 02:30

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Construction workers were set to picket a school building project this morning in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Construction workers were set to picket a school building project this morning in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Construction workers were set to picket a school building project this morning in a dispute over pay and conditions.

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Members of the Unite trade union, working as subcontractors for the CLS Recruitment Group on the Scoil Mhuire school building project in the Dublin suburb of Saggart, claim they are being paid half the agreed hourly rate and working extra hours for free.

The picket could potentially close the site with other unions on the project expected to support the action.

Unite says the hourly wage being paid to its members is in contravention of an agreement with the Department of Education that construction industry rates would apply to the schools building programme. The workers involved in the action include plumbers and pipe-fitters.

"Despite the agreed construction mechanical rate being €21.42, our members in CLS are being paid less than €11 per hour, while also working an extra two-and-a-half hours per week for no extra payment.

"Our members are also not receiving travel payments, and pension contributions are not being made. At the same time, the employer is benefiting from the workers' tax credits since most of them have been out of work for long periods of time," said Union organiser Rob Kelly.

The union claimed that one worker has been underpaid by €3,700 since the project started in June.

Mr Kelly said that attempts to resolve the situation with CLS were unsuccessful and after a ballot of the company's eight members on the site, strike notice was served on July 24.

CLS referred the matter to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). The picket was set to begin at 7am today as the parties prepare to engage in a process at the LRC.

CLS Recruitment was unavailable for comment yesterday. A spokesman for the department said he could not comment on the specifics of the case because the industrial action is being taken against the contractor.

Irish Independent

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