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Factsheet for measure IE-2020-21/1275 – Updated – measures in Ireland
|Country||Ireland , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 22 May 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
|Author||Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||12 October 2020 (updated 25 March 2021)|
The Trade Union Federation – made up of the main construction unions, SIPTU, BATU and Connect – and the sectoral employer body, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) agreed a sector specific protocol consisting of specific COVID-19 arrangements for the construction sector.
The agreement was concluded in May and follows on from the Government’s Return to Work Safely Protocol. The construction agreement notes that the national protocol encourages the development of sectoral agreements to further ensure safe workplaces.
In addition to the measures contained in the national return to work safely protocol, the construction sector agreement includes industry specific measures to deal with the threat of COVID-19 includes a monitoring system, improved access to sites for union representatives, alternative work patterns and temperature testing of workers. It also includes a complaints'procedure for COVID-19 issues.
The Sectoral Employment Order that governs construction pay and conditions sets out normal working hours, but the CIF/TUF protocol recognises that work patterns outside these hours may be “temporarily required” for COVID-19 safety, to reduce numbers on site at any one time.
As many as 30% of construction workers returned on 18 May 2020, but most of the others returned in the following weeks, as sites re-opened gradually. There are estimated to be from 80,000 to 100,000 site-based craft and operative workers.
The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.
|09 March 2021||
In March 2021, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and the Trade Union Federation (TUF) signed a revised Return to Work Safety Protocol for the construction sector. This followed a closure of the construction sector - with the exception of certain essential construction - when Ireland entered Level 5 in January 2021.
Jean Winters, CIF Director of Industrial Relations said: "The Protocol demonstrates the commitment of both side to continue our collaboration to protect construction workers and their families from COVID-19 when work resumes on all sites. Brendan O'Sullivan, General Secretary, BATU said: "The Protocol identifies the voluntary encouragement for all workers to avail of the virus vaccines now been rolled out by the HSE. John Regan, SIPTU Sector Organiser, said: "The Protocol provides for ongoing and regular engagement between TUF and CIF."
According to specialist publication Industrial Relations News (IRN), "Encouragement of cooperation with vaccination and testing, as well as provisions on selection of workers when building sites re-open, are the main new elements in a revised construction industry protocol on COVID-19." "As well as the updated and new provisions, the agreement reaffirms “both sides’ commitment to ensuring COVID safety on construction sites”. The deal comes in the lead-up to the potential re-opening of the ‘non-essential’ elements of the construction sector next month, subject of course to public health advice at the time. (About 30-40% of the industry is currently operating on projects deemed ‘essential’ under current restrictions.)", according to IRN.
All construction workers and employers.
Other groups of workers
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
No special funding required
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The Trade Union Federation - SIPTU, BATU and Connect - and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) agreed the sectoral protocol to ensure the safety of workers across the industry. The agreement was concluded in May and follows on from the Government’s Return to Work Safely Protocol. The construction agreements notes that the national protocol encourages the development of sectoral agreements to further ensure safe workplaces.
The agreement includes specific measures to deal with the threat of COVID-19 such as a monitoring system, improved access to sites for union representatives and a complaints procedure for COVID-19 issues.
According to SIPTU Construction Sector Organiser, John Regan, the agreement provides for additional safety and health protection measures. “These measures are based on the principle of ‘prevention first’, the speedy correction of non-compliance and the closure of sites if the safety of workers is not ensured. If it cannot be done safely, it should not be done at all,” he said.
This case is sector-specific
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|F - Construction||F41 Construction of buildings|
|F42 Civil engineering|
|F43 Specialised construction activities|
This case is occupation-specific
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
|Building and related trades workers, excluding electricians|
Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 safety protocols agreed in the construction sector, measure IE-2020-21/1275 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/IE-2020-21_1275.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.