Legislation Not PR Needed To Tackle Bogus Self Employment

Legislation and not public relations measures are needed to tackle the issue of bogus self employment, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers' Rights, David Cullinane TD, has said.

Deputy Cullinane was responding to reports that the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty intends to roll out a public awareness campaign on the issue.

He said: "Bogus self employment is a growing problem and is rife in a number of sectors such as construction and the media. The Minister and the Government are aware of the problem as are the thousands of workers forced into self employment. While a public information campaign may have some value, what is required is legislative action to protect the rights of workers.

"I have met workers in the construction sector and their trade union representatives who are deeply concerned about this growing problem. Workers who ordinarily should be directly employed and enjoy all of the basic employment rights are denied these rights by being forced to become self employed.

"Workers lose entitlements such as sick pay, holiday pay, pension entitlements, and trade union representation. The state loses through reduced PRSI contributions and a reduction in the Social Insurance Fund.

"This practice is also rife in the media industry. Last week at the Public Accounts Committee, I put questions to the Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes about their increased use of self employment.

"One in four employees at RTE are now on such contracts. While this is of benefit and is done with the agreement of a small number of those employees, the vast majority are coerced into signing such contracts. RTÉ are currently carrying out a review and will report shortly.

"It is up to the Government to act and protect the rights of workers. In tandem with rolling out an information campaign, the Minister should bring forward legislation to prevent employers forcing employees into signing their rights away. Action speaks louder than words."


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