How Much Are Building Workers Paid?

18 Jul 2017 | 11.19 am

How Much Are Building Workers Paid?

They're in line for 10% pay hike

18 Jul 2017 | 11.19 am

Workers in the construction sector could get statutory minimum pay increases of up to 10% if a Labour Court recommendation is accepted by the government and Oireachtas.

The Labour Court has been examining pay in the sector for the first time since the establishment of Sectoral Employment Orders in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015, introduced after the previous system of Registered Employment Agreements was found to be unconstitutional.

The court’s recommendation would mean that general operatives with more than one year’s experience will be paid €17.04 an hour; skilled operatives such as scaffolders, crane drivers or heavy machine operators €18.36 an hour; and craft workers a rate of €18.93 an hour. For a 39-hour week, that works out at €34,500 to €38,400 per annum. If implemented, the SEO rates would be the minimum that all construction employers are obliged to pay their workers.

Apprentices would begin on one-third of the full craft rate, increasing to to 90% in fourth year, and new entrant general workers would start on €13.77. The order also includes recommendations in relation to sick pay, pensions and unsocial hours payments.

Under the new mechanism, the recommendation must be considered by the Minister for Jobs and approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas before it is given effect by means of a Sectoral Employment Order. The order would then be legally binding.

Strike Notice

The latter element indicates there could be trouble up ahead, as trade union Unite already served notice of strike action in June on behalf of crane drivers, claiming an 80% increase in rates across the board, a claim which was immediately rejected by the Construction Industry Federation.

Either a trade union or employer organisation can ask the Labour Court for a review of pay and conditions under the 2013 Act. In this case the CIF made an application to the Labour Court towards the end of 2016 to review the terms and conditions of workers in the sector.

Two other such applications are currently being considered by the court, relating to mechanical engineering workers and those in the electrical sectors. One earlier application was withdrawn and one rejected.

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