Over the past number of weeks the IRSP has been carefully examining the conditions for workers as COVID-19 regulations have been eased. During the COVID-19 lockdown and particularly at its onset we were to the fore in challenging deviance by exploitative employers. We rightfully predicted that employers would act during the uncertainty to attack the wages and conditions of workers.
With regard to the construction sector the IRSP was advised of the concerns of workers and last week in Dublin we delivered letters to major contractors and their representative body the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) advising them not to renege on agreed rates of pay in the Sectoral Employment Order (SEO).
On Monday then workers were dealt a blow, when the SEO was struck down by an ‘upper class’ judge whose class sympathies were laid bare, after a challenge from gombeen employers against having to pay the agreed rates. This affects thousands of workers, and means that the minimum wage for certain workers can drop by seven euro per hour or more.
Whilst elements in the political sphere and some construction rights bodies have mobilised quickly to call for renewed legislation and legal challenges, the IRSP wishes to make clear its position that we stand with workers, ready to relentlessly challenge any employer or corporation which believes it will benefit from these circumstances to further exploit workers. This is not 2008: hard-pressed workers will not bear the brunt of political and economic failings to spare inconvenience to those who have made millions from their labour.