Trade unionists tell Denis O’Brien to pay UK workers the rate for the job

It’s a story straight out of A Christmas Carol

Union activists dressed as Scrooge characters will shortly be calling on the controversial billionaire Denis O’Brien to protest against the poor treatment of UK construction workers employed by his construction company.

Denis O’Brien is the second richest man in Ireland. He is also the majority shareholder of Actavo, which was called Siteserv up until 2015. It carries out work at British Steel in Scunthorpe (UK) where scaffolders are being paid up to 15% below the agreed national rate. The Actavo (UK) workers have been on continuous strike for 9 weeks.

Unite has put Denis O’Brien on notice that he must be held to account for the treatment of these Unite members. He must now ensure Actavo (UK) pays the workers the going rate for the job.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said: “It is a scandal that billionaire Denis O`Brien`s company pays these workers well below the official rates. Actavo can easily afford to pay the agreed national wage rates but chooses not to. While O’Brien lives in the lap of luxury his workers are haunted by poverty in the run up to Christmas. It’s straight out of ‘A Christmas Carol’.

“Trade unionists have a message for Ireland’s second richest man – it’s time to stop behaving like Scrooge and pay workers properly. Unite will be unrelenting in its determination to secure a settlement for these workers.”

The dispute, which began in 2019, is a result of the scaffolders not being paid according to the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). The rates for the Actavo (UK) workforce are currently 10-15 per cent below these rates, according to job roles. The workers maintain 500 scaffolding structures at the British Steel site.