Work stoppage at Limerick school is not an ‘isolated incident’

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

THE Limerick Council of trade unions has warned that construction companies are in danger of going out of business due to the structure of public procurement for major developments.

THE Limerick Council of trade unions has warned that construction companies are in danger of going out of business due to the structure of public procurement for major developments.

Mark Quinn of SIPTU and Michael McNamara of BATU said the work stoppage at the Ardscoil Ris school site on the North Circular Road last week is not an “isolated incident.”

The Galway firm in charge of the project, Cordil Construction, said their cash flow has been put under “tremendous strain” due to a number of factors in the current climate, including monies owed from Government departments and new Government contracts.

Work has halted indefinitely at the Limerick site, among their 15 projects across the State.

“Yet again another construction company faces the risk of going out of business due to the tendering process with Government departments.

“These contractors are bidding so low against each other that they’re finding it very difficult to do the work and pay the wages of their workers,” said the Limerick council of trade unions.

“We believe the departments need to relook at how they accept submissions for those contracts,” they added.

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said thousands of construction companies, and their employees, are at imminent risk of losing their livelihoods unless the Government enacts proper legislation to protect sub-contractors and small contracting firms against non-payment.

The CIF said they are “inundated” with queries from both contractors and sub-contractors who are owned substantial sums of money, in some cases in the hundreds of thousands of euro, for work that they have carried out on both public and private sector projects.

“Never has there been a greater need for legislation to be introduced to stop the continuous destruction of subcontracting and small building companies involved in the industry,” said Tom Parlon, director general of the CIF.

Last month, P. Elliott & Co. halted work on the construction of the medical school at the University of Limerick, which was due to open in September.

The €5.5m expansion of Ardscoil Ris is 75 per cent complete, and principal Brid de Brun is confident the work will be completed.