The High Court has awarded more than €1m damages and interest to a group of Portuguese workers who claimed they lived in “terrible conditions” at a “work camp” provided by his former employers when they were building a section of the N7 motorway in 2007 and 2008.
The award was made by Justice Carmel Stewart who said the workers were “treated appallingly by their employers”.
Noting that the workers had been working in Ireland for periods up to two years the Judge said that “it beggars belief that their ordeal could have lasted for so long”.
The 20 workers claimed they were underpaid while working for three Portuguese companies, called the RAC Eire Partnership, that were contracted to construct the section of motorway between Limerick and Nenagh.
Stewart said that evidence was given that the Portuguese workers lived in a cramped prefab building where there between six to eight people per room.
The facility, which had been located at a rural townland outside Nenagh, Co Tipperary was also a fire hazard, she said.
The judge said there was no drinkable water at the accommodation, the showers didn’t work all the time and there was a smell from where wastewater from the facility flowed.
“The washing facilities provided by the defendants were unfit for any living thing, least of all human beings,” the Judge said, adding that the conditions resulted in the worker’s health being affected.
In all the circumstances the Judge said the workers in these cases were entitled to damages of €818,000 between them. However, the court will make a final award when interest is added to that figure. It is expected that the final award will exceed €1m.
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Source: The Journal