YET another construction materials company has been accused by its haulage drivers of giving them insufficient work to make the repayments on €150,000 trucks bearing its livery.
Following reports last week of a similar rift between drivers and Roadstone Wood, drivers at Cemex have said that despite the fact they own their own vehicles they are only allowed to drive for Cemex.
They say the company used to take over the repayments if the driver could not work for any reason or if there was insufficient work for them. However, that situation had now changed.
In recent months, the hauliers say their take-home pay has dropped by 30% or more through rate cuts and work availability but they are still having to make the repayments. Therefore they say they are often operating at a loss.
One driver said that the dire financial situation that he and his colleagues have found themselves in has led to severe health complications due to stress. They are deeply fearful the trucks will be repossessed and they are in danger of losing their homes.
One of the big issues between the drivers and the company is their employment status. Some have approached the Government department SCOPE claiming that the contracts they have with Cemex make them its employees though the company considers them external contractors.
The drivers say that is particularly pertinent as a number of directly employed workers were recently let go but got significant redundancy.
“Due to the well-documented downturn in the Irish construction industry, Cemex Ireland has experienced an unprecedented decline in demand for its products,” a Cemex spokeswoman said.
“Regrettably this has resulted in very significant job losses internally and has also seriously impacted on the demand for services provided by hauliers and other external contractors. Cemex Ireland regrets the impact that the difficult economic environment has had on all in the industry.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved