Highway bridge workers face delay in access to income support

The fallout from the slippage of Roadbridge, one of the nation’s largest civil engineering and construction companies, which went into receivership last week, continues unabated.

The fate of the more than 600 employees has been highlighted by a number of politicians. Fine Gael backbench TD Michael Ring noted employees were being told they should not apply to the Department of Social Care for a 30-day period or seek employment for the next 30 days because this could affect their dismissal rights.

Louise O’Reilly, Sinn Féin spokesperson for workers’ rights, called on the government to ensure that those affected had access to social benefits and, when they wanted to take up a new job, they did not lose their right to dismissal accordingly.

“Currently that is not the case so these are simple changes that the Minister for Social Care (Heather Humphreys) and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Leo Varadkar) can make immediately. “, she said.

Roadbridge has construction contracts worth a total of €750 million over the next two to three years. It owes around €35 ​​million to the Bank of Ireland, but has trade debts estimated at around €40 million, mainly due to sub-contractors, suppliers and other businesses.

For affected workers, not being able to access income support for a full month is a huge blow, especially at a time when the cost of living is skyrocketing. Most of them probably won’t have the luxury of waiting to see if the situation works out in their favor. Any changes to the legislation may not arrive in time for Roadbridge workers.

On the other hand, construction workers are currently in high demand given the steady surge in home building, a healthy flow of other construction activity, and a shortage of certain skills in the industry.

And elements of the business could still be salvaged.

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