Court rejects 20% cut in wage


Employers in the construction industry have failed in an attempt to reduce the wages paid to workers in the sector by a further 20 per cent.

The Labour Court yesterday issued a recommendation on the construction Registered Employment Agreement, which sets out pay rates in the sector.

It said wages should be reduced by 2.5 per cent, in line with changes to a similar agreement covering pay for electrical contractors.

The ruling brings to 10 per cent the total reduction in pay for workers in the sector since the downturn.

The court also ruled that travel allowances in the sector should be reduced and rates paid to workers entering the sector be cut by some 12.8 per cent, from €13.77 per hour to €12.

The Construction Industry Federation had argued that the extra 20 per cent cut was necessary to improve competitiveness, create more jobs, and encourage domestic and foreign direct investment.

Trade unions said staff had already accepted a 7.5 per cent cut and a pay freeze, and deserved better than “another ill-thought out slash-and-burn attack” on their incomes.

In its ruling, the Labour Court said the Construction Industry Federation had argued that, through tenders, the State was effectively “the only significant customer the industry has at present or will have for the foreseeable future”.

The court ruled it had not been presented with evidence that State bodies “are demanding or accepting tender prices that are manifestly incompatible with the provisions of the Registered Agreement”. The CIF said it would hold an emergency meeting on the decision, which its director general, Tom Parlon, said “does not go far enough”.