Concern over European firms being encouraged to bid for contracts to build council housing - Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has called for the mandatory inclusion of social clauses in all public procurement projects. Speaking in response to news that European firms are being encouraged to bid for construction contracts on council housing developments Deputy Quinlivan said:
“Apparently it’s hoped construction firms from Poland to Latvia and from Spain to Italy will achieve maximum budgetary efficiency in the delivery of housing and promote competition and cost savings.
“This worries me as our track record in terms of protecting workers’ rights on large scale capital projects is not good.
“It also strikes me as odd that one day we have the Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh telling us it is not practical to encourage emigrants to return while economic issues persist, yet the following day the media reports that foreign construction firms are to be invited to apply for large public procurement projects.
“I am calling on both the Minister for Jobs and the Minister Public Expenditure to introduce as a matter of urgency stringent social clauses for all such projects.
“It is not acceptable for construction workers in Ireland to be displaced by cheap labour that is brought in specifically to reduce overall project costs.
“Thousands of construction workers are now categorised as long-term unemployed while others had no choice but to emigrate.
“The state’s house building programme should be viewed as an opportunity to revitalise the Irish construction sector and provide decent unionised jobs with good pay and conditions for workers in Ireland.
“Looked at imaginatively this is also an excellent opportunity for the government to embark on a national apprenticeship scheme and ensure we have skilled people for future projects”.