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Sinn Féin to Support Bargaining Rights for Freelance Workers – Gavan

5 July, 2016 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has confirmed that his party will be supporting the Competition (Amendment) Bill due to be taken at Committee stage in the Seanad today.

The Bill would provide collective bargaining rights for freelance workers including journalists, actors, musicians, photographers and others.

Senator Gavan said:

“A ruling by the Competition Authority in 2004 struck down collective bargaining rights for a whole range of workers on the basis that because they were self-employed freelancers they would be engaging in anti-competitive practice.

“The Authority's decision effectively turned the clock back almost 200 years to the era of the Combination Laws, which made it unlawful for workers to ‘join together’ to press their employer for shorter hours or more pay.

“There has been a concentrated campaign by SIPTU/Equity, the NUJ and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions since this time to re-establish the fundamental right to collective bargaining for many thousands of workers across the State.

“The last Fianna Fáil Government committed to introduce amending legislation but failed to do so. The Fine Gael/Labour Government had 5 years to deal with the problem but this legislation only appeared a couple of weeks before the election.

“Never the less, this Bill does seek to right a wrong which has impacted severely on the incomes of those affected. It’s well drafted and deserves the support of every Senator. There is a very important principle at stake here - so-called ‘competition law’ must not take precedence over the rights of workers. These workers; our artists, musicians, and actors, have already been left waiting 12 years for this issue to be fixed. Let’s not leave them waiting any longer.” 

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