SIPTU representatives are calling on the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to ensure that union organisers have access to publicly funded school building sites, to brief workers on their legal rights and entitlements, following the repeated refusal by one company to allow such visits. SIPTU Organiser, Rory Hawkins, said: “I have written to the Minister for Education to inform her of the unacceptable situation whereby a main contractor running publicly funded school building sites has repeatedly refused access to trade union organisers. This is resulting in workers not receiving information on their legal rights and entitlements under the Sectoral Employment Order for the construction industry. “Such site visits are usually done with the ready agreement of the main contractors on publicly funded building schemes. Unfortunately, in recent months myself and my colleagues have been repeatedly refused entry to Department of Education funded building sites run by the contractor JJ Rhatigan. “Among the sites I have been refused entry to include major building projects funded by the Department of Education in the South West. These include the redevelopment of the Patrician Academy in Mallow, county Cork, and the new three-school campus in Carrigtwohill, county Cork, which is one of the largest single building projects ever undertaken by the Department of Education. “This situation is resulting in workers being denied information on key issues including their sick pay entitlements, pension rights and minimum rates of pay. We believe it is imperative that the Government and unions cooperate to ensure that state backed agreements are being fully enforced in order to best protect the rights of workers and ensure that public funds are spent in the most appropriate manner.” He added: “If this situation is not speedily resolved, SIPTU representatives and our colleagues in the other construction sector trade unions will seek a meeting with the Department of Education and the associated school boards to discuss what must happen in relation to these building sites. We are committed to ensuring all construction workers receive the information they are entitled to in relation to agreements which have been entered into by their unions, the Government and employers.”