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Irish government commits to giving freelance journalists rights

18 September 2008

The Irish government has given a ground-breaking commitment to bring in a new law giving freelance journalists the right to collective representation by trade unions.

The NUJ has welcomed the commitment, which the Irish Congress of Trade Unions secured as part of the national partnership agreement finalised in Dublin this week.

At a meeting of the Irish Executive Council today, Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, confirmed the new agreement, which will now be voted on by unions throughout Ireland, contains a specific commitment to introduce amending legislation in 2009.

The new law will exempt voice-over actors, freelance journalists and session musicians from the provisions of the Competition Act. Currently the Irish Competition Authority views freelance journalists as “business undertakings” and has prevented the NUJ from collectively representing freelances or from publishing fees guides.

Séamus Dooley said:

"After 10 years, we now have formal recognition that freelance journalists are entitled to representation. The wider implications of the social partnership agreement have still to be examined, but the NUJ is extremely pleased that we have faced down the Competition Authority."

The new agreement makes provision for a 6 per cent pay increase in two phases and also includes a new law outlawing victimisation on the grounds of trade union membership.

The Irish Executive Council will hold a special meeting in October to consider the full agreement.

Tags: , freelance, rights, law, trade union freedom, government ireland, ictu