Builders take legal proceedings against Unite over blocklayer row

JJ Rhatigan denies union claims that some workers earned less than €5 per hour

Builders JJ Rhatigan & Co have begun legal proceedings against the Unite trade union arising out of a dispute with blocklayers who worked on construction of a new school in west Dublin.

The dispute, which began several months ago, centres around a claim by members of Unite that, under a system of sub-contracting, some workers were earning less than €5 per hour.

The company denies the claims and is seeking various injunctions against Unite following a number of incidents at a site at Kishoge, Lucan, including the alleged deliberating blocking of vehicles entering it.

The most recent incident occurred this morning when, it is claimed, two protesters climbed onto and allegedly damaged a crane resulting in the gardai shutting the site down on health and safety grounds.


Workers voted last month to take industrial action, up to and including strike action and placing pickets, at all locations where JJ Rhatigan & Co carried out its business.

At the High Court today, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted Rhatigan's permission to serve short service of proceedings against Unite the Union; Patrick Molloy, Stephen Gleeson and their company Gleeson & Molloy Bricklaying Services, subcontracted by Rhatigans to lay bricks for the new community school; and several other members of the union.

JJ Rhatigan & Co Ltd and related companies want injunctions restraining the defendants or others interfering with access and egress from several building sites or trespassing on those.

As well as the site at Kishoge, orders are sought in respect of sites at Griffeen Valley, Lucan; St Patrick's College Drumcondra; the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin and any other property or premises belonging to Rhatigans.

The application was made ex-parte (only one side represented) and the matter was returned to Wednesday.