Following detailed discussions over several months, an affiliation agreement between SIPTU and BATU (Building and Allied Trade Union), was signed in Liberty Hall on Thursday, 12th March. Welcoming the agreement, the General Secretary of BATU, Brendan O’Sullivan, said that it represented an historic development for both unions and for their members in the construction sector. “This is an historic development for our unions and reflects the long-standing and positive relationship between BATU and SIPTU which can only get stronger in the years ahead,” Brendan O’Sullivan said. “In particular, it strengthens the professional representation of both unions on behalf of craft and general workers in the construction sector which will develop and grow as this affiliation agreement deepens our co-operation over time.” SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack, said the affiliation brings the two largest construction unions in Ireland together while ensuring that BATU retains its independence. He said: “The agreement allows the two largest construction unions to continue to work in collaboration in order to improve the living standards of construction workers. The affiliation retains BATU’s independence but gives them the services of a much larger union which will support its membership and officials.” SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, Sector Organiser said the strong relationship between the two unions was shown recently when members of SIPTU and BATU, along with Connect,  demonstrated at a publicly funded building development in Ballyfermot over the scourge of bogus self- employment contracts on the site. “SIPTU and BATU are calling on the incoming Government to put in place an independent monitoring body to ensure that bogus self-employment contracts are removed from all publicly funded construction projects,” John Regan said. “This was recently achieved at the National Children's Hospital project where a protocol agreement to ban such contracts was recently agreed by the unions and the main contractor, BAM and endorsed by the HSE’s newly appointed monitoring oversight body.”