Labour Chairperson dismisses Government initiative on Bogus Self Employment

07 May 2018

Speaking at the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the Ballinasloe based Labour and Trade Union activist Stephen Connell, Labour Party Chairperson Jack O’Connor dismissed the Government’s initiative on Bogus Self Employment, “as about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike”.

Mr O’Connor said:

“Stephen would have immediately seen through the shallowness of todays announcement. He would have seen it for what it is, an exercise in Government spin designed to portray the appearance of doing something, when nothing of substance is happening. What percentage of vulnerable people are going to act on foot of such a lame minimalist effort, which amounts to no more than pointing people to a website?  Its all the more cynical when one considers that absolutely no additional resources are to be committed to facilitating the expeditious processing of complaints or investigating non-compliance. Its about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike at best. But it could actually be much worse than that, because people’s non- engagement with this limp initiative will inevitably be used to fortify ongoing official denial of this exponentially growing plague on vulnerable workers.

“As an experienced Trade Unionist and workers’ representative, who was engaged in the battle against exploitation throughout his life, Stephen would have railed against such cynicism. He would have insisted on what is really required to combat this growing phenomenon, which deprives workers of their employment rights and social insurance benefits as well as undermining good compliant employers in the market place. We need robust legislation defining all employment relationships as Contracts of Employment and placing the obligation on employers to prove otherwise, backed up by strict sanctions.

Jack O Connor described Stephen Connell “as a Trade Unionist, Labour man and practical Socialist, of the greatest personal integrity. He was a member of the IT&GWU/SIPTU and of the Labour Party for fifty years. He was a vocal delegate at trade union regional and national conferences, always civil and courteous, but equally always incisive and insistent on behalf of his members.

“Over the full half century of his active involvement in the Labour Movement, he served for thirty years as the local Union Branch Secretary or Chairperson. From 1985 to 1994 he served on Ballinasloe Town Council, representing the Labour Party. First and foremost a Community Activist, he represented the residents of St Grellans and other estates in the town in discussions with the Town Council for many years. He was proud of his role in the establishment of a community local hall here in the 1970’s. He was also a founder member of Ballinasloe Community Resources and founder member of Ballinasloe Social Services Centre.

“It is entirely fitting that we would assemble here on the May Day Holiday, which Stephen would be quick to remind us was established by the Labour Party when in Government in 1994 to mark the Centenary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. We are here to commemorate his memory, but more to be inspired by his life to carry on the fight for fairness at work and justice in society”, he concluded.

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