'No Irish' builders sought on Polish sites


A LEADING west of Ireland union official says that exploitation of eastern European workers by Irish construction companies is having consequences for Irish builders seeking work abroad.

Siptu official Michael Kilcoyne, who is also president of the Consumers Association of Ireland, says "No Irish" signs have started to appear on several Polish building sites seeking staff.

Mr Kilcoyne said he believes that Ireland's international reputation as a fair employer has been "sullied" by the negative experiences of a number of migrants who came here in search of work.

"The evidence of this is in the number of cases taken before the Labour Relations Commission over the last year or two in respect of unpaid wages or holiday money that was not paid."

He said even contractors who had awards made against them continued to take advantage of staff and some had closed down to avoid paying wages.

Mr Kilcoyne said 14 cases which he had pursued in Galway had found employers to be at fault and he believed there were probably "hundreds, if not thousands" of awards being made across the State.

He said company law required tightening in this area.