THOUSANDS of construction workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action up to strikes if employers refuse to give a 2.7pc pay rise next month.
embers of BATU, Connect, Opatsi, Siptu and Unite backed action if the increase due under a sectoral employment order is withheld.
The vote comes after the High Court ruled that legally binding sectoral employment orders were unconstitutional.
However, a stay has been put on this judgement pending a government appeal to the Supreme Court and all orders currently in place have the force of law.
Under the general construction sectoral employment order, a pay rise of 2.7pc is due on October 1.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King said today’s result shows that workers in the construction sector are determined that employers will not be allowed to renege on their legal responsibilities.
She said employers who fail to do so will be pursued and workers will take industrial action if necessary.
Chairperson of the Congress Construction Industry Committee, Billy Wall, said the result shows a real determination on the part of union members in the sector to defend their hard-won conditions of employment.
“Workers in the sector have worked hard during the public health emergency to keep construction sites open and working,” he said.
“The 2.7pc increase is the least they deserve.”
Earlier, Connect announced a majority of its 25,000 members in the electrical contracting, mechanical contracting and construction sectors voted in favour of action.
Connect general secretary Paddy Kavanagh, said 94pc of members voted in favour in the electrical contracting sector, almost 97pc in the mechanical contracting sector and 97.5pc in the construction sector.
“This means that if any employer should seek to alter or undercut agreed rates and conditions they will be subject to industrial action,” he said.
“Furthermore, site clients are now on notice that any such industrial action on any site would automatically involve our members employed across all three sectors.”
He said Connect has taken industrial action on a national level on three occasions in the last 15 years and will not hesitate to do so again.
Assistant general secretary, Brian Nolan, said the ballot and vote results from a High Court decision in June to declare parts of the industrial relations amendment act as unconstitutional.
He said the government has committed to passing legalisation which will “correct this situation”.
“The government must move immediately on this issue, otherwise the industrial peace in these sectors could be ended by the actions of a rogue employer,” he said.
“The message is clear, our 25,000 members across the electrical contracting, mechanical contracting and construction sectors will not flinch in taking immediate and direct action to protect the terms and conditions, as well as pending improvements, which were agreed as part of an SEO or national collective employment agreement.”