Eoin O Broin, Dublin Mid-West Sinn Féin, proposed Emergency Motion 6.
For over 20 weeks a small and resilient group of bricklayers supported by their trade union Unite took on the Department of Education, the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board and Rhatigan’s.
The issue was very simple.
The men were building a school – the Kishoge Community College in Lucan, Co Dublin, funded by Government.
They were being paid below minimum wage.
All they wanted was decent pay and decent conditions for their work.
In response Rhatigan’s locked the workers out.
The Department of Education and the Education and Training Board washed their hands of the mistreatment of the workers despite the fact that their contract with Rhatigan’s required the contractor to abide by employment regulations.
But the men, their families and the wider community stood firm.
They refused to be broken.
And after twenty long weeks Rhatigan’s were forced into a settlement at the Labour Relations Commission.
But while this dispute has been settled the abuse of subcontracting regulations to drive down pay and conditions remains widespread across the construction sector.
Emergency Motion 6 commends the workers and their union Unite for the important stand they made in the Kishoge Community College dispute.
It also calls for the incoming Ard Comhairle to develop a comprehensive policy to address the on-going casualisation of the construction industry.
We need to end the widespread abuse of subcontracting in the construction sector.
We need tighter controls and greater protections for workers to ensure their pay and conditions are protected.
And we need to ensure that when public money is being used in construction projects the highest possible standards are applied including for the men and women who build and work on these projects.