SIPTU has called for the strict enforcement of the terms of a new Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the construction industry which comes into effect tomorrow (Tuesday, 1st October). SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, said: “The terms of this SEO will come into effect on Tuesday 1st October. Workers in the construction industry will be receiving the first phase of the pay rises included in the SEO with a 2.7% increase tomorrow. The second phase will come into effect on 1st October 2020 with another 2.7% rise. This amounts to a 5.4% pay increase over two years. “In addition, the working week is now legally enshrined in the SEO at 39-hours with overtime premium rates applying after 39-hours. The Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS) contribution will increase in line with pay increases which, for the first-time, brings it in line with pension schemes in other employment sectors. “The SEO gives a right for construction workers to be in a pension scheme and receive all other benefits it contains. However, some 30,000 PAYE workers in the construction sector are not in the CWPS or receiving the other benefits of the SEO. The main reason these workers will not benefit from the terms of the SEO is because they are not members of the union. The reason for this is that many workers fear they will be black listed or dismissed for becoming a union member. Many other workers are excluded because they have been forced by scrupulous employers into bogus self-employment,” John Regan said. SIPTU Construction Sector President, Eddie Gunnery, said: “The impact of bogus self-employment on workers is that they have no legal entitlement to a 39-hour working week, annual leave, pension entitlements, death in service payment or sick pay.” ICTU Congress Construction Industrial Committee Secretary, Jimmy Coughlan, said: “Bogus self-employment in the construction industry is estimated to result in losses in tax to the exchequer of over €200 million to year. Layoffs and terminations of employment for workers are also prevalent when projects come close to a conclusion, leaving those bogusly self-emplyed with no right to redundancy or the protection of the Unfair Dismissals Act.” John Regan added: “We are calling on the Minister Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, to immediately introduce the legislation she has promised that would impose real penalties for those who seek to force workers into bogus self-employment.” He added: “The Minister must also provide the resources for a robust enforcement structure to ensure that all construction workers will receive the full terms of the SEO.”