Trade Union Federation (TUF) representatives met with South Dublin County councillors recently to discuss the implementation of an inspection regime for all construction sites operated on behalf of South Dublin County Council (SDCC) to ensure full compliance with employment agreements. The move follows the passing of a motion, proposed by Sinn Féin councillor William Carey, at a meeting of SDCC on 12th January which calls for the introduction of an inspection regime, in conjunction with the TUF, to ensure the employment rights of construction workers are being adhered to on council sites.
Cllr Carey said: “This is a significant step by councillors aimed at ensuring that employers operating on council sites are adhering to their legal obligations. As pressure to ramp up construction delivery intensifies, there is a danger that we will slip back into the old ways of the Celtic Tiger era of non-compliance in this sector.”
BATU Regional Organiser, Carl Whelan, said: “An inspection regime for council sites is now SDCC policy. TUF representatives are seeking an urgent meeting with council management to agree on an operational protocol and terms of reference for the introduction of a compliance inspector that will have powers to investigate all publicly funded construction projects in the SDCC area.”
Connect Trade Union National Compliance Officer, Brian McAvinue, said: “This decision by councillors will assist in ending non-compliance with construction industry employment agreements on SDCC building projects. It will pave the way to ensuring that trade union members receive their minimum legal employment entitlements as set out in the Sectoral Employment Orders (SEOs) for the construction, mechanical and electrical sectors.”
SIPTU Organiser, Andrew McGuinness, said: “Bogus self-employment remains a major problem in the construction industry. It results in thousands of construction workers retiring without a pension. The local authority procurement system stipulates that all contractors must be compliant with the terms of SEOs which cover minimum entitlements for hourly rates of pay, pension contributions, sick pay, death in service entitlements, overtime payments and a 39 hour working week. It is essential that an inspection regime is put in place by every county council to ensure that these terms are being enforced.”