There’s fears that over one hundred Waterford builders will soon be out of work.
The claim was made during a sitting of Waterford City and County Council after the tender for maintenance work on houses was awarded to a construction firm based in Newry.
Previously tenders were put out for a small number of houses, whereas now one company CTS Projects now has the contract for the entire Metropolitan area.
It is hoped the plan will see houses become available immediately if there are no major structural flaws on the property.
Metropolitan Mayor Seán Reinhardt criticised the decision to award the tender to a company outside of the locality. “We’re in here day in day out trying to promote local tourism, local work, local work for local people. I just want to know will this thing be reviewed. They way I see it going is instead of it saving money it’s going to cost money because two contractors now will have to make a profit out of this if they’re going to start subcontracting. We want to be looking after workers in Waterford who have families in Waterford and are putting their money back into the economy in Waterford.”
Independent Councillor Joe Kelly said that as vice president of the Waterford Council of Trade Unions, the development concerned him. “This is discriminatory towards local builders and potentially putting 100 possibly 200 workers out of work. Although there’s a gain on one hand we as trade unionists have to recognise the potential loss of work to people around the city and county. It’s very hard to reconcile both positions. He concluded saying “to have to sacrifice local jobs to turn our houses around quicker to me is a bad deal and I would rather we hadn’t done it.”
The Council’s Director of Housing Ivan Grimes expected local builders to be employed by CTS Projects. “We know that CTS are in the process of trying to recruit staff locally. They will be expected to be based here to deliver on the terms of the contract. It is commercially sensitive, I can’t go into the details, but we will be enforcing the terms of the contract. My expectation is that we will significantly reduce the turnaround time for refurbishments.”