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Irish

Construction workers set to get 5pc pay rise within two years

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CONSTRUCTION workers are in line for a pay rise worth over 5pc within less than two years.

Minister for Trade Pat Breen has formally backed new minimum wage rates for the construction and electrical contract sectors.

Construction rates are set to rise by 2.7pc from October 1 this year and another 2.7pc from October 1 next year.

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And electrical contracting rates will rise by 2.7pc from September 1 this year.

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Business Minister Pat Breen. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Construction unions had lodged a claim for a 4pc a year hike in hourly rates over three years that was strongly opposed by construction employers.

Minister Pat Breen backed the wage recommendation that was put forward by the Labour Court.

It means an existing sectoral employment order that determines pay and conditions in the sectors will be changed to include the new rates.

Minimum pay rates will rise to €19.44 an hour for craft workers in construction including bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, glaziers, painters, plasterers and tilers from October 1.

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They will jump to €18.86 an hour for scaffolders and €14.14 for new entrants.

"These measures are an important step in securing stability and growth in crucial sectors in our economy," said Mr Breen.

"These orders will protect the working conditions of workers in the construction and electrical contracting sector; will underpin continued good relations between workers and employers in the sectors; and will help maintain the attractiveness of these sectors as career options."

The Small Firms Association described the pay increase as "disappointing".

"The approval of new minimum pay rates for workers in the construction and electrical contracting sectors is disappointing for small businesses working in these industries," said director Sven Spollen-Behrens.

"Due to the high demand for tradesmen on building sites across the country, service providers in the construction and electrical sector are finding it difficult to compete against these labour rates, and to retain and attract tradesmen."

BATU, Connect, OPATSI, SIPTU and UNITE asked the court to review the terms and conditions of workers in the construction sector.

The application in the electrical contracting sector was made by Connect, the Association of Electrical Contractors Ireland and the Electrical Contractors Association.

The minister will now put the draft order forward for consideration in both houses of the Oireachtas over the coming weeks before it can be adopted in law.

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Business Minister Pat Breen. Picture: Steve Humphreys

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