Tuesday 13 November 2018

Hundreds of foreign workers take to streets over low pay

Gareth Wescott

UP to 400 workers from Turkish construction firm Gama marched through Dublin yesterday to protest alleged low pay and bad conditions, while the firm insisted no worker had been underpaid. The workers, who later met with Siptu chiefs, said they wanted officials from the Dutch bank where the firm says their wages are deposited to come to Dublin to discuss the matter.

Further protests are planned later today in Galway, where Gama also employs workers.

At yesterday's protests, workers claimed they had been asked to sign forms allowing salaries to be paid into the Dutch bank, without realising what they were signing.

The firm claimed yesterday that "a significant factor" in the protest was that the term of employment for 140 of the workers had expired, and they now faced repatriation to Turkey.

Murray Consultants PR, for the firm, said in a statement yesterday that all workers on Gama Construction Ireland projects were "paid in full accordance with the Registered Employment Agreement and are not underpaid".

Last week, Gama was granted leave by the High Court to seek a judicial review of the decision by Enterprise Trade and Employment Minister Micheal Martin to call for a probe into allegations about payments raised in the Dail by Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins. The court heard Mr Higgins claimed in the Dail that unskilled Turkish building workers working here were paid ?2-?3 per hour. The statement yesterday said Gama was sending letters in Turkish to workers to tell them how they could get the wages held in Holland. Last week Mr Higgins estimated there could be as much as ?40m secreted away in the Dutch accounts.

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