Government intervening in Gama dispute

Tuesday 12 April 2005 20.44
Gama workers - Protest at Leinster House
Gama workers - Protest at Leinster House

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that the Government believes it will be able to ensure that employees of Gama Construction can secure access to money held in their name in a Dutch bank.

Bertie Ahern said he hoped the Government could secure information about the money belonging to the workers by the weekend.

Around 50 Gama workers were in the Dáil's public gallery as Mr Ahern was questioned on the issue by Labour leader Pat Rabbitte and Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party.

Mr Rabbitte called on the Government to instruct Ireland’s Ambassador to the Netherlands to secure from the bank a clear statement of the entitlements of each worker.

Mr Ahern said officials of the Department of Enterprise had already been in touch with the bank, and they believed the information would be forthcoming.

Deputy Higgins said the workers were destitute, not having been paid in four weeks, and described the situation as an ‘incredible scandal’.

He said the company must be ‘banged around the place by the Government’ to ensure it complied with trade union rates of pay and conditions, and said there could be €30 million of workers’ money in the bank.

The Taoiseach said his information was that the figure may even be higher.

Mr Higgins said the Gama Construction workers have been criminally abused in the name of the Celtic Tiger. And he said they were in such dire straits that they had to be given bus fares to visit the Dáil today. 

Gama workers stage protest

Earlier, up to 300 workers from the company took part in a protest outside the Dáil demanding Government intervention in their dispute.

The Gama employees have been on a work stoppage for over a week.

The workers have also called for the publication of a report on their pay and working conditions by inspectors from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Earlier this month, Gama secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing publication of the report.