Labour Trade Unionists
10 November 2016

Senator’s Ivana Bacik and Ged Nash will be available to speak to reporters at 2pm today, Thursday 10th November outside the Kildare St gates of Leinster House with representatives of the NUJ and SIPTU.

This is in advance of the report and final stages of our COMPETITION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2016 at 2.15pm today in the Seanad. It will be the first Private Members Bill to pass all stages in either the Seanad or the Dáil since the General Election.

Date: Thursday 10th November 2016
Time: 2pm
Location: in front of Kildare St gates, Leinster House.

Background to the Bill

​This Bill stems from a longstanding Labour party commitment to ensure protection of the right to collectively bargain for freelance workers, including journalists, actors and others who perform their work on a self-employed or contract for services basis. ​ ​Under competition law, currently every self-employed person is considered to be a separate independent economic undertaking. If one self-employed person combines with others to set prices for their services, they can be accused of an illegal anti-competitive practice. At its most extreme, freelance journalists in a newsroom would be barred from bargaining collectively with their common employer about their wages. That is the understanding in Irish law under the Competition Act 2002, and that is what this important Bill seeks to change ​.​

The Bill will allow self-employed workers, such as actors or journalists, who personally provide work or perform services, to collectively bargain with their employers. However, the Bill is narrowly drafted so as to ensure consumers remain protected from illegal price-fixing. I know that many unions, such as the NUJ and SIPTU, have sought the change in the law that this Bill will achieve; and that they​​​ ​​have welcomed the Bill’s progression to Report Stage – it marks an important advance in the protection of vulnerable workers.​



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