The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) is calling on all Oireachtas representatives for Offaly to ensure that the Construction Contracts Bill is passed as early as possible this year.
According to the CIF, failure to pass the legislation will lead to further financial difficulties for construction workers based in Offaly and throughout the rest of the country according to the Federation.
The Construction Contracts Bill is a piece of legislation which seeks to ease the process of payments made to construction contractors. It removes the possibility of payments being withheld for extended periods of time.
Speaking about the importance of passing the legislation, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “This legislation is of major concern to construction workers and construction companies in Offaly and all around the country. It will help ensure that construction workers get paid when they should and will not be out of pocket for months or years on end as is currently the situation.
“That is why we are appealing to the Oireachtas members representing Offaly to do all they can to get this piece of legislation passed in the coming weeks. It has already been in the Oireachtas for over 980 days, which is a considerable period of time for a piece of legislation that has cross party support. There is no political fighting delaying this legislation, it has widespread support as practically every member of the Oireachtas can see how much this will help those in the construction sector who are struggling.
“All that is currently lacking is the political determination to have this legislation passed. That is why we are hoping the various Oireachtas members for Offaly will press the Government to pass this legislation now. We can’t allow this to be held up any longer. Further delays will only lead to more construction companies going bust and more construction workers having their payments delayed.
“Subcontractors and main contractors are having problems securing payments and that is leading to long, unresolved disputes which are putting construction workers under huge financial pressure and stress. On a variety of projects around the country, construction contractors are going without pay for work they have already done, for materials they have supplied and for the staff they have hired. The legislative gap is making it very difficult for construction workers at all levels to put bread on the table and look after their families.
“Last November the Kilfinane National School in Limerick was caught up in the middle of a row that would have been prevented if the Construction Contracts legislation was passed into law. If we want to avoid those kind of situations happening in Offaly or other parts of the country then it is vital the local representatives act now.
“The CIF will be writing to all the Oireachtas members representing Offaly this week to try to ensure that they keep pressing for this legislation to be enacted. If there are further delays we will ask our members to get directly involved with the Oireachtas members locally.
“Our industry has gone through a considerably difficult six years following the collapse of the economy. No other industry in this country has seen the drop in employment and the level of company insolvencies that the construction sector has endured. We don’t need that problem exacerbated by unnecessary delays to widely supported legislation.
“For that reason we really hope that the Offaly Oireachtas members will do their bit to get this Bill enacted. They and their parties have the power to help construction workers. All they need to do is enact a piece of legislation that is ready to go,” Mr Parlon concluded.