IPCA calls on contractors to stop providing cheap services to local authorities

ver the past year, the Irish Plant Contractors Association (IPCA) has been working on behalf of members in relation to numerous matters. This includes the Sectorial Employment order (SEO) governing pay. This was introduced by minister Pat Breen in 2017 and updated in 2019. The legislation relates to machine operators and covers 2 x rates of pay €19:37ph for an operator with more than years’ experience and €14:50ph for those with less, the recompense level also includes pension contributions.

Standardising fair rates of pay for operators was seen as a good initiative, and many contractors and sub-contractors in the country complied with the SEO. However many did not and in doing so an unlevel playing field was created, hence non-compliant contractors won work as their costs were lower.

The IPCA position on this matter is most definitely not with any contractors’ rates of pay, the issue is with government introducing orders with no enforcement mechanisms. Perhaps the concept was to create a level playing field where contractors could tender for a job and not lose out when it came to labour costs. If the SEO was introduced to ensure fairness for employees, then it has, in the view of the IPCA, been a spectacular failure. Subsequently contractors who have been compliant, have also been disadvantaged, as they have lost work to non-compliant competitors. The IPCA have encountered many local authorities gaining from the provision of cheap labour with many contractors hired in, using old equipment without any finance and showing na complete disregard for their employees. The IPCA has seen evidence of employees in their 50s and 60s, working for as little as €11 an hour, with no legally required pension contribution.

Local authorities appear to be ‘turning a blind eye’ to these legal requirements, to the advantage of non-compliant contractors. Construction standards are driven by professional contractors, committed to growing their business by doing things correctly and fairly.

Contractors who fall short of these standards and flout the rules, must be made to recognise that that is to their detriment and the detriment of the industry. The IPCA is driven to deliver a level playing field, ensuring compliance and fair play when recompensing employees, tendering and compliance. In support of this initiative, the IPCA plans to issue a table of recommended equipment and employee rates.

Supreme Court

The Supreme court will soon give its judgement regarding the Sectorial Employment Order. The IPCA sense is that the SEO will be struck down due to pertaining legal matters. The IPCA is currently lobbying government about the options of replacement if this is the outcome. We are encouraged by these discussions and believe government will act quickly, introducing amendments to the current SEO, that will enable a level playing field and fair play for all. We have strongly advised government that any future plans for SEO’s can only follow a period of wide consultation with the industry. The IPCA’s opinion is that a free market around wage control should persist, ensuring that high performers can be retained and rightly rewarded.

IPCA’s recommendations

The IPCA will soon be publishing a set of recommendations to improve standards. This will include a tiered system where only fully compliant IPCA PARTNER WITH CAPITAL FLOW FINANCE contractors can win state work. Main contractors or sub-contractors hired on state contracts, will, under the IPCA proposal, have to show records of full compliance, a history of good work and on time payment.

The IPCA is calling on all stakeholders in the construction industry, from contractors to dealers, to join the IPCA. A strong healthy industry is to the benefit of all, it will attract and retain the best people, create good well-paid jobs for employees, more equipment sales for dealers and stronger contractors & sub-contractors, who can be more confident about their futures.

Get involved and join the IPCA – contact Brian Coogan
at 083-4335968 or Brian@irishplantcontractorsassociation.ie


Necessity is the mother of invention and the effects of Covid on the Construction Industry over the past 18 months have certainly highlighted the need for a united voice and platform to represent the Irish Plant Contractors within the Construction Industry in Ireland. As a result of this need, the Irish Plant Contractors

Association (IPCA) was formed in April 2020, to support, not just the large contractors, but to fight for the good of all construction, including smaller family run businesses that have fought to stay afloat during the pandemic. Ireland is home to some of the most skilled plant contractors, machinery operators, architects, bricklayers and carpenters, many of whose skills have been passed down through generations, and these livelihoods need to be protected and secured.

In support of the initiative, Capitalflow is delighted to be announced as a key sponsor to the IPCA. Ronan Kelly, Managing Director of Asset Finance, Capitalflow commented “We’re really excited to get on board with the IPCA and support a much needed voice in the plant contractor industry. We have worked closely with a large number of companies involved in the construction industry since our inception and we welcome theopportunity to play our part in strengthening the voice of key players across the industry and the vital role they play in creating jobs and homes for the Irish people”

Please feel free to contact a member of Capitalflow’s dedicated Team today to discuss any capital expenditure requirements for plant, machinery, vehicles or equipment – you can contact our team via webchat; get an instant quote, or make an simple online application anytime at Capitalflow.ie via our new website.

If you’d like to speak directly with one of our Capitalflow team, call 01-5632400. Membership of the IPCA is open to contractors, sub-contractors, quarry, plant hire companies, utility contractors, rental firms andequipment owners of all shapes and sizes working within the construction sector in Ireland North & South.

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