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Lynn Boylan MEP welcomes measures to fight bogus self-employment

2 February, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has welcomed today’s vote in the European Parliament in favour of combating undeclared work.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms Boylan said: “Today MEPs voted to improve a Commission proposal to establish a European Platform to fight against undeclared work by ensuring that bogus self-employment is included.

“Undeclared work deprives workers of social protection, lowers labour standards and increases health and safety risks. It undermines public finances and social security systems, and it creates a race to the bottom based on unfair competition. 

“This Platform aims to bring together the various enforcement bodies in each member state involved in the fight against undeclared work such as labour and social security inspectorates, and tax and migration authorities. 

“It is an important step forward. Until now undeclared work, falsely declared work and bogus self-employment have been dealt with sporadically and in an uncoordinated way. The Platform will provide a framework for more effective cooperation.”

Ms Boylan continued: “I particularly welcome the inclusion of bogus self-employment in the Platform. Bogus self-employment is a major problem in Ireland, especially in the construction industry. Big contractors deliberately label construction workers as being self-employed rather than direct labour in order to cut costs on social insurance payments. The workers miss out on their entitlements and the state misses out on tax revenue.

“In December, the ICTU released a report in which it measured the cost of bogus self-employment in this state as being a shocking €640 million since 2007. That was the year unions and employers agreed on a Code of Practice that was supposed to tackle this issue – and since then the number of self-employed workers in the construction industry has doubled.

“Think of what €640 million could do to help solve the housing and health crises in this state, for example.

“The Irish government needs to respond positively to the European Platform against undeclared work, but it also needs to act urgently at home to address bogus self-employment in the construction industry.” ENDS

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