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NUJ welcomes outcome of RTÉ review of contracts

22 June 2018

The NUJ has welcomed the outcome of a legal review of contracts for service at RTÉ and has warned against delays in implementing the report, carried out by Eversheds Sutherland solicitors.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Ireland secretary, said the findings vindicated the strong stand taken by the union over several years about employment contracts at RTÉ. The union also wants a review of bogus self-employed contracts in the commercial print and broadcasting sectors. He said:

"The NUJ has long claimed that RTÉ was guilty of breaching the employment rights of workers by forcing them to accept self-employed contracts. This was done as a means of avoiding granting workers sick pay, maternity and paternity leave and pension rights. RTÉ has also denied these workers the right of access to trade union representation - even when they sought to challenge their bogus self-employed status. This report shows that a significant number of workers trapped in inappropriate contracts have employment rights and must have their status corrected. We accept that it will take time to address the individual issues, involving a minimum of 157 cases, including 106 deemed 'high priority' by the independent legal advisors. Priority must be given to ensuring that workers long denied their rights are granted employment status and appropriately compensated by way of retrospective payments.
"The NUJ welcomes RTÉ’s commitment to implementing the report  and to introducing new policies and procedures which will eradicate a culture which has no place in a public service broadcasting organisation.
"The RTÉ group of unions must be fully engaged in this process. Line managers must never again be allowed to act as if they had the right to refuse employment rights based on unspecified criteria.
"The issue of bogus self-employment is a major feature of the media industry. RTÉ is not unique in this regard. The department of social protection should consider carrying out a sectoral review of media organisations in the commercial print and broadcasting sectors. Our stand in RTÉ has been vindicated and management has finally decided to accept the scale of the problem. There are strong grounds to suspect there are also significant problems in other media organisations."

The union has also called for a review of bogus self-employed contracts in the commercial print and broadcasting sectors. The situation at RTÉ has served to highlight wider issues in the media, arts and culture sectors.

Dooley added:

"Employers should not be allowed to hide behind ambiguous language or terms such as 'misclassification' to describe the deliberate attempts to deny workers’ rights."

Tags: , rte, rte group of unions, broadcasting, broadcasting standards, freelance, contracts, ireland, employment law, employment rights