Successful Labour Legislation a Real Win for Workers

31 May 2017

The Labour Party has become the first Opposition party in the current Dáil term to successfully pass a Bill through both Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Competition Amendment Bill 2016, which will become law in the next five days, aims to improve the working and living standards of those working on a freelance basis in the arts and culture sector, as well as in the media.

Welcoming the Bill’s passage, Labour Spokesperson on Labour Affairs and Workers Rights, Senator Ged Nash said:

“It is a source of great pride that the only Private Members Bill to become the law of the land since the birth of this ‘do-nothing’ Dáil is a Labour Party Bill on improving the rights of working people.

“Even in Opposition, Labour is still the only party that can be trusted to deliver real change for working people.

“In Government in late January 2016, we supported Senator Bacik’s Bill ensuring that it was passed at Second Stage.

“Crucially the benefits of the Act can be enjoyed by self-employed workers outside of the categories that will immediately be exempted from sections of competition law to allow them to engage in collective bargaining with their trade union.

“Importantly, we now have clear definitions in Irish law of what constitutes ‘false self-employment’. This measure is a game-changer for workers in the gig economy with a clear route map in place in terms of collective bargaining rights for vulnerable self-employed workers who work under the control and direction of an employer.

“From the bricklayer who is forced to be a self-employed contractor on a construction site, to the bogus self-employed IT contractor in a multinational, and from the Deliveroo rider to the airline pilot who has been pressured into setting up a company structure so they can work for high profile airlines, this legislation is welcome news and will provide more clarity around legal employment status and trade union rights.

“This country has a problem with false self-employment. The enormous increase in the registration of new businesses and sole traders in recent years is not entirely explained away by Ireland’s burgeoning enterprise culture. The truth behind the figures is more troubling and with massive consequences for the Exchequer in terms of lost tax revenue and the denial of basic rights and entitlements to people who are for all intents and purposes, employees.

“The passage of this Bill is a major milestone for the labour movement in Ireland and a momentous achievement for Senator Ivana Bacik and the Labour Party.”

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