The builder: 'I end up borrowing off people... it's demoralising'

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Gary Gleeson shouldn’t have to worry about being paid below the living wage. The construction industry, at least in theory, is governed by industry-wide craft rates. The rate for a general operative like him should be €15.66 an hour. But he says contractors frequently bring in agency workers for almost half the industry rates . Gleeson says he can’t afford to support his three children.

A dispute over contractors at the site where he has been working meant he received a fraction of what he was owed after four weeks’ work. “For the bricklayers it ended up working out at €2.60 an hour, or €20 a day. It’s ridiculous.”

Gleeson, along with other workers at the site – at Kishoge Community College, in Lucan, Co Dublin – are in dispute with the main builder at the site, JJ Rhatigan. The firm denies claims that a system of subcontracting at the site has resulted in the underpayment of workers.

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