JFK School building firm set for investigation

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

A BUILDERS trade union has asked a government-backed equality body to investigate alleged under-payment of workers involved in a major public project in Limerick city.

A BUILDERS trade union has asked a government-backed equality body to investigate alleged under-payment of workers involved in a major public project in Limerick city.

Some construction workers with decades of experience who were working on the multi-million euro upgrade of John F Kennedy School, Ennis Road, were being paid just over €12 an hour - the same rate of pay a third year apprentice could expect to earn - by the sub-contractors appointed Noto the project.

The long-awaited upgrade of JFK National School - funded by the taxpayer - has provided work for around 15 construction workers.

But the Building and Allied Trade Union (BATU) are furious with the sub-contractors, who they claim are paying their workers just €137.68 per day. Payslips seen by the Leader back this up.

There is also anger after bosses at the sub-contractor allegedly told workers on the site that if they were to engage with a trade union, they would find themselves out of work. The construction workers who approached the Leader this week have seen their employment terminated, and are currently seeking clarification on why this is.

But it is the pay discrepancy which will form the main plank of BATU’s detailed complaint to the National Employment Rights Authority, which has the power to reclaim owed monies from the sub-contractor to the workers.

Speaking to this newspaper, Mike McNamara, union official with BATU pointed out it is unlawful for construction workers to be paid less than the minimum agreed rate of pay - and that the builders were as a result losing out on more than €250 each week in take-home pay.

Representatives of the sub-contractor, and overall contractor declined to publicly comment when contacted by the Limerick Leader.

FOR MORE ON THIS STORY SEE THE LIMERICK LEADER CITY EDITION