Irish workers drawn to a booming German construction industry are left without pay by bogus companies.

Since reunification, the landscape of many East German cities is dominated by construction works. Many foreigners desperate for work are drawn to Germany by newspaper advertisements.

Irish builder John Moloney explains that many of them take jobs with unscrupulous companies. They labour for weeks without pay and are dismissed before receiving any money for their efforts.

John Hayes adds,

You go for your money, it’s not there, the office doesn’t exist, your never paid, you’re being threatened with guns, you're told to leave town or else don’t come back.

Several nationalities desperate for work are willing to accept lower wages than their German counterparts. British worker Mark Hartley says his precarious terms of employment means he, and others like him, work much harder than the Germans.

We’re donkeys, were nothing else but legal Poles, that’s what we are.

Wolfgang Weipert of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) says foreign workers do not make social security payments so they can work for half the price of German workers. However some workers say they have tax deducted, but this is kept by the recruiting agencies rather than going towards pensions and social security benefits.

As they are working in the black economy many foreigners do not wish to go to the authorities if they run into difficulties. Liam McDaid is owed £3,500 but when he got unto an argument about his wages, he was told he was sacked.

I phone them every day, can’t get my money, so what can I do?

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 June 1994. The reporter is Tommie Gorman.