A senior executive at the company responsible for running the National Car Test has written to a number of immigrant employees, telling them if they don’t stop making noise in their accommodation “then I do not want you here in Ireland”.
The head of human resources for Ireland at Applus — the Spanish company with responsibility for the NCT contract — wrote to a number of Filipino mechanics living in Dublin last week to take issue with complaints about the noise being made at their residence.
“I have had a number of calls regarding noise in our houses and apartments,” Hugh O’Brien wrote in an email on March 21.
“Your number one reason to be in Ireland is to work. If you make noise that stops people/roommates from getting sleep and they cannot work, then I do not want you here in Ireland. You can go home, at your own expense.”
He said if a housemate of the recipients asks them to stop making noise “do it, or I will solve the problem”.
“Last chance!” Mr O’Brien concluded.
An Applus spokesperson said “it is company policy not to comment on employee relations or internal staffing issues”.
The Filipino workers in question “are valued members of staff and are settling into their new life in Ireland” the spokesperson said, adding: “We want to ensure that their experience in Ireland... is a pleasant one as we are very aware that they have left loved ones and families at home.”
It is understood the recipients of the mail are among 44 mechanics hired from the Philippines to bolster the NCT workforce last November amid crippling backlogs which have seen up to 400,000 vehicles overdue a test nationally.
Some 22 Spanish staff were also seconded from Applus’s Spanish operations at the same time to help with the backlog at Irish centres, although it is believed that only eight of that initial cohort of workers remain in Ireland.
The Filipino staff in question pay rent to Applus through their wages, while the Spanish workers do not pay rent due to their working off their original Spanish contract.
It is understood the Spanish staff based in Dublin were not in receipt of the email from HR. The various workers based in the capital are being accommodated by Applus on the northside of the city.
Average wait times at NCT centres have ballooned over the past 12 months, with waits of six months or more common across the country.
Last October, the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority Sam Waide told the Oireachtas transport committee it had become “increasingly difficult” to recruit qualified mechanics as vehicle inspectors over the previous two years.
He said the backlog in NCT appointments was attributable to “multiple factors”, including the impact of covid, which caused “significant” staff absences at test centres, together with high levels of customer no-shows and late cancellations.
Last month, Junior Transport Minister Jack Chambers said there had been “some progress” in addressing the backlog. He said 110 vehicle inspectors had been recruited last year, including the 44 Filipino mechanics, leading to an overall inspector roster of 608.