The Labour Court has made recommendations to Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald on new pay rates in the construction sector.

It is the first recommendation from the court under a new framework established two years ago to replace the Registered Employment Agreement system that was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.

It must be considered by the minister and passed by the Dáil and Seanad before coming into effect through a Sectoral Employment Order.

The court recommended that Category 1 workers, general operatives with over a year experience working in the sector, be paid €17.04 an hour.

It said Category 2 workers; skilled general operatives, scaffolders with advanced scaffolding cards and have four years’ experience, banksmen, steel fixers, crane drivers and heavy machine operators should be paid €18.36 an hour.

Craft workers, including bricklayers/stone layers, carpenters and joiners, floor layers, glaziers, painters, plasterers, stone cutters, wood machinists, slaters and tilers, should be paid €18.93 an hour, the Labour Court said.

Apprentices in these crafts should be paid according to a formula:

  • Year 1: 33.3% of craft rate
  • Year 2: 50% of craft rate
  • Year 3: 75% of craft rate
  • Year 4: 90% of craft rate

The court said general operatives entering a sector for the first time should be paid €13.77 an hour.

The Tánaiste welcomed the recommendations, saying: "I will consider the report carefully to ensure that application and recommendation requirements of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 have been met and I hope to be in a position to make a decision on the recommendation as soon as possible."