The Department of Education says it’s investigating allegations of underpayment of workers at a major school building project in west Dublin.

The trade union UNITE has served strike notice on the JJ Rhatigan site. It says the system of subcontracting there meant bricklayers were earning less than €5 an hour.

Developers JJ Rhatigan said the allegations are completely untrue.

Bricklayers who began working for a subcontractor on the site last May say they were earning around €107 for a full working week.

Kishoge Community College is one of 70 new schools that are under construction this year.

It’s part of a massive €2bn state investment in school infrastructure, aimed at ensuring enough school places for the country's rapidly growing school population.

The programme is also supposed to act as an employment stimulus for local economies.

However trade unions and workers say subcontracting is being used to drive down wages and undermine pension and other rights. Workers say pay and conditions are reaching levels that are unacceptable.

JJ Rhatigan and trade union UNITE met this afternoon in an attempt to resolve the issue at the Kishoge site. The strike is due to begin on Friday.

JJ Rhatigan has told RTÉ News it’s inappropriate to comment in detail on the matter which is being dealt with through normal industrial relations, however it did say the allegations are completely untrue.

The Department of Education says an audit of the Kishoge site was already being carried out as part of a random process and that audit is now investigating complaints received.