Unions have signed an agreement with the building contractor, BAM Building, committing it to ensuring compliance with the Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the construction industry at the National Children’s Hospital site at James’s Hospital Campus in Dublin. The protocol agreement was signed today (Thursday, 21st November) in central Dublin. SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, said: “This protocol agreement was signed by representatives of the unions included in the ICTU Construction Industry Committee, ICTUGeneral Secretary, Patricia King and BAM Building. “It commits BAM Building, as the main contractor on the National Children’s Hospital, to ensuring that all sub-contractors and agencies operating on the site comply with the Construction SEO that sets minimum standards of pay and conditions for workers. The five unions involved are SIPTU, OPATSI, Connect, BATU, and Unite. This protocol is the first of its kind in 40 years. “The agreement stipulates that union organisers will have access to the site and direct contact with workers in order to ensure they are receiving their legal minimum entitlements for the full duration of the building of the National Children’s Hospital. The agreement also provides for meetings every two months between union organisers and BAM senior management. “The agreement contains a commitment to direct PAYE employment for all workers on the site. This will ensure that workers are not forced into bogus self-employment which is a major problem in the construction industry.” He added: “SIPTU is calling on the Construction Industry Federation to adopt this protocol agreement as a template for its member companies on how to co-operate with unions on all public and private building projects. SIPTU representatives are looking forward to making sure that the thousands of workers on the National Children’s Hospital site will receive their minimum legal entitlements and are not subjected to any form of exploitation.”