NUJ welcomes bill to tackle bogus contracts
21 November 2017
The National Union of Journalists has welcomed publication of a Labour Party bill to tackle bogus self-employment contracts. Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley and Kieran Fagan, Irish Executive Council treasurer attended the launch of the bill by Senator Ged Nash.
The Protection of Employment (Measures to Counter False Self Employment) Bill 2017 would put all workers on an equal footing in situations where they are carrying out the same duties, but are not legally designated as ‘employees’.
Séamus Dooley said:
“We hope there will be cross-party support for this bill. The media is one sector where there is strong evidence that workers are being forced to accept self-employed contracts even though they are clearly being employed to do the same work, in the same way as colleagues.
"In 2007 a code of practice was introduced with criteria designed to determine whether a worker is an employee or a genuinely self-employed sub-contractor, but this has not adequately addressed the situation.
"The situation in RTÉ is of particular concern and there appears to be a contagion within the media industry. Workers are in a catch 22 situation where they are forced to declare themselves as self-employed and then denied the right to trade union representation or access to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) when they wish to challenge their enforced status – because they are not employees. There are no objective criteria used in forcing workers to be self-employed and there is no voluntary element to the “choice” of self-employed status, since the alternative is no contract at all.
"This bill suggests a route towards fairness and includes access to the WRC where employment status is in dispute.”