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Employment Rights

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 February 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Questions (368)

Peadar Tóibín


368. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the systems in place to ensure that all contractors and sub-contractors employed on construction, refurbishment and maintenance projects funded by the State are fully compliant with Irish and European labour laws and regulations; if he will give an assurance that no contractor or sub-contractor employed on such contracts is currently in breach of any aspect of Irish or European labour law and regulations. [5862/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

In relation to the general issue of employment law and its enforcement, these are matters for my colleague Mr. Richard Bruton, T. D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) respectively.

Under a public works contract the contractual relationship is between the public body and the main contractor. The public body does not conduct the procurement process for each sub-contract package under a public works contract; this is carried out by the main contractor who is not subject to the rules governing public procurement.

The public works contracts include a clause on pay and conditions of employment which require the main contractor to ensure that all those employed on the works (including those employed by sub-contractors) are paid in accordance with the Registered Employment Agreement (Construction Industry wages and conditions of employment). This is enforced through a number of measures which include the display of the relevant clause on the site in a location that is readily accessible to all those employed on the site, a requirement for a certificate from the contractor with each payment application stating that all those employed on the works are paid in accordance with the REA, withholding of any payment if the certificate is not provided, a deduction from sums due to the main contractor of the amounts due to workers in accordance with the REA if a certificate is subsequently found to be false and termination of the contract in the case of a persistent breach.

The Deputy will be aware of the grounds upon which an applicant may be excluded from a public tender from my reply of the 16th January 2013 to a series of recent Parliamentary Questions on the same subject (Reference Numbers 57826/12, 57828/12 and 57830/12). It is possible that following a public tender a company could be awarded a public works contract where a contracting authority may not be aware of any outstanding judgements by the Labour Court made against a tenderer.

The management of a public works contract is a matter between a contracting authority and a main contractor. It is the responsibility of each contracting authority to ensure that contractors comply with all the requirements of the contract. If the Deputy is aware of any non-compliance he should contact the relevant contracting authority directly.