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Minister Pat Breen accepts recommendation for pay increases for construction workers

Pat Breen TD, Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has accepted the recommendation made by the Labour Court regarding rates of pay for workers employed in the construction sector.

The recommendation is the first such recommendation from the Labour Court under the new framework that was put in place in 2015 to replace the Registered Employment Agreement system that was found to be unconstitutional in 2013. In this instance the Construction Industry Federation made an application towards the end of 2016 to the Labour Court to review the terms and conditions of workers in the Construction Sector.

The next step is for the Minister to make an Order to effect the terms of the recommendation as provided for in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015. This will be known as a Sectoral Employment Order. A draft Order has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Minister will seek their approval to make the Order at the earliest opportunity when they reconvene in September.

Minister Breen said ‘The construction sector is economically key to our continued growth and recovery and it is important that workers across the sector have certainty in relation to their pay and terms and conditions. The making of this Order will provide that security. In addition, I note that the Labour Court, in making its recommendation, is of the view that its recommendation will contribute to harmonious relations between workers and employers in the construction sector and that is vital to our economy at this time’.  

While the terms of the recommendation will not have legal effect until the Order is made, the Minister commended all parties for their active participation in the process to date.

The Labour Court’s recommendation for a Sectoral Employment Order for the Construction Sector also includes recommendations in relation to sick pay, pensions and unsocial hours payments.

For more information contact Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on 01-6312200 or press.office@djei.ie.

ENDS

NOTES

Following its review the Labour Court recommended the following:

Category 1 Worker: €17.04 per hour

(General Operatives with more than one year’s experience working in the Sector)

Category 2 Worker: €18.36 per hour

(Skilled General Operatives, Scaffolders who hold an Advanced Scaffolding Card and who have four years’ experience, Banks operatives*, Steel Fixers, Crane Drivers and Heavy Machine Operators)

(*Banks operatives are more generally known as banksmen)

Craft Worker: €18.93 per hour

(Craft Workers in the following trades: Bricklayers/Stone Layers; Carpenters and Joiners; Floor Layers; Glaziers; Painters; Plasterers; Stone Cutters; Wood Machinists; Slaters and Tilers)

Apprentice

(Apprentices in the following trades: Bricklayers/Stone Layers; Carpenters and Joiners; Floor Layers; Glaziers; Painters; Plasterers; Stone Cutters; Wood Machinists; Slaters and Tilers)

Year 1: 33.3% of Craft rate

Year 2: 50% of Craft Rate

Year 3: 75% of Craft Rate

Year 4: 90% of Craft Rate

New Entrant Worker: €13.77 per hour

(General Operatives who are over the age of 18 years and entering the Sector for the first time).

Sectoral Employment Orders are a wage setting mechanisms provided for in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015.

They replace the Registered Employment Agreement system which was found to be unconstitutional in 2013.

Employers and Unions that are substantially representative of a Sector can jointly or separately ask the Labour Court to review terms and conditions in a Sector.

Such a review involves a public consultation process.

The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 sets out principles and policies which the Labour Court must have regard to when making its recommendation.

The Court makes its recommendation to the Minister along with a Report on the circumstances around the making of the recommendation.

If the Minister is satisfied that the Court complied with the provisions of the 2015 Act a draft Order must be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the Minister can only make the Order after a resolution approving it has been passed by each House.

Sectoral Employment Orders are legally binding on the Sectors to which they apply and their provisions are enforceable by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Where enterprises in Sectors that are covered by Sectoral Employment Orders are experiencing severe financial difficulties they can apply to the Labour Court for an exemption from paying the rates provided for in the Order. The 2015 Act sets down the type of information and documentation that must be submitted to the Court in support of such an application. Agreement of the majority of workers for whom the exemption is sought is also required by the Court before such an exemption will be granted.

To-date four other applications have been made to the Labour Court to examine terms and conditions in a Sector – one was withdrawn and one was rejected. The other two are currently being considered by the Court – they relate to the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Sectors.

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