Government must withhold payments to exploitative Kishoge contractors - Tóibín
Speaking in the Dáil
today Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín raised the ongoing dispute at the publically
funded Kishoge Community college with the Minister of State for Business and
Employment and called on the government to withhold all payments to contractors
until current investigations into complaints made by workers are complete.
The Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson said:
“Workers at the Kishoge Community College site have effectively been locked out of their place of employment because a subcontractor has demanded that they register as self-employed and accept excessively low rates of pay.
“Government's response so far has at best been bureaucratic and at worst the relevant Ministers’ have effectively washed their hands of the matter.
“For months now, men with families have been outside their place of work doing their damnedest to draw attention to what is going on, but the Government is doing nothing about this issue.
“It is the citizens of this state who are footing the bill for the Kishoge capital project and as such they need to be assured that the law will ensure that workers on publicly funded construction project get a fair day's pay for a day's work.
“There remain more construction workers than there are construction jobs and as result some rogue contractors have engaged in very sharp practices exploiting people those desperate to back into employment.
“Sinn Féin has written to all the relevant Ministers seeking an urgent intervention at the Kishoge site. Speaking in the Dáil today the Minister of State confirmed that the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the National Employment Rights Authority are investigating complaints relating to the Kishoge project.
“We welcome these investigations but the fact remains that work on the site is continuing and the workers themselves are still outside the gate. Our worry now is that the projects itself could be complete and contractors paid before these investigations are complete leaving any wrongdoing going unchecked.
“When dealing with this in the Dáil today I called on the government to review all of publically funded construction projects with the intent of ensuring contractors and subcontractors are not engaging in exploitative work practices.
“At a minimum all payments to the contractors at the Kishoge site should be withheld until the Revenue Commissioners, Social Protection and NERA complete their investigations.”