SIPTU has called for solidarity between and within all grades of construction workers as unions work collectively to secure improvements in pay and conditions through the agreement of a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the industry. SIPTU TEAC Division Organiser, Greg Ennis, said: “It is crucial that worker solidarity, both between grades and within them, in the construction industry is maintained because of the volatile nature of employment in the sector. The current pay structure, in which earnings for all categories of worker are based on a percentage of the craft rate, crystallises that solidarity. Collapsing that structure would dismantle hard won inter-grade solidarity and result in long-term pain for everybody. “SIPTU, through various forums including social media, has been falsely accused by some of seeking to restrict or indeed cut pay within the construction sector. The undisputed facts of the matter, of which our 14,000 members are keenly aware, are starkly different and no effort to create ‘fake news’ will succeed in contradicting them. “SIPTU, along with the other construction unions in ICTU, which include BATU, OPATSI, TEEU and Unite, presented an agreed SEO submission to the Labour Court on 26th June. This was in response to a Construction Industry Federation (CIF) application for an SEO that would establish minimum rates of pay, pension, sick pay, travel time as well as deal with other issues in the construction industry. He added: “This approach, which was agreed by all unions including Unite, seeks to preserve the integrated pay structure which involves all categories of construction workers. The objective is to secure its inclusion in a future SEO so as to protect unionised employment against undercutting by non-union labour. The claim seeks to establish legally binding minimum rates of pay for all grades.” (The rates sought in this claim are listed below). SIPTU Sector Organiser, Martin Meere, said: “SIPTU has also proposed a complete review of the grading structure within the construction sector in the light of the changes which have occurred since it was put in place in 2000.  This would afford all categories an opportunity to have claims for improvements judged on their intrinsic merits, while preserving the concept of an integrated pay structure. All the unions represented on the ICTU Committee support this approach, except Unite, which has not opposed it, but has sought time to reflect upon it. “SIPTU, in the meantime and following months of negotiations, has secured an increase of 25% for all Crane Operators by way of a negotiated restoration of a two hours per day ‘Greasing Allowance Payment’ applicable since 5th June. “SIPTU represents over 14,000 Construction General Operative members, including 147 Tower Crane Operators. The issue of representational rights for this category was investigated at a formal ICTU hearing involving SIPTU and Unite on June 27th. The outcome of the hearing is awaited.” Rates of pay as outlined in joint union SEO claim: Minimum Craft Rate                                                      €18.96 (Increase of 10.2%) Minimum Grade A (Technical Operative)        97%    €18.39; (Increase of 10.2%) Minimum Grade B (Skilled Operative)             91%    €17.25; (Increase of 10.2%) Minimum Grade C (Semi-Skilled)                    88%    €16.68; (Increase of 10.2%) Minimum Grade D (Basic Operatives)  80%   €15.17; (Increase of 10.2%)