Bill benefitting freelance workers passed by Seanad

A Bill aimed at protecting freelance workers has been passed by the Seanad.

Bill benefitting freelance workers passed by Seanad

A Bill aimed at protecting freelance workers has been passed by the Seanad.

It reinstates the right of voice-over actors, session musicians and freelance journalists to collectively bargain with employers.

The Bill was first proposed after the Competition Authority ruled that if freelancers combined to set prices it could be considered anti-competitive.

When enacted, it will exempt workers and reinstate their collective bargaining rights.

SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley, welcomed the move, saying: "The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was introduced by Senator Ivana Bacik in January was passed by Seanad Éireann with all party support following the acceptance of amendments proposed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

"This Bill will reinstate collective bargaining rights to voice-over actors, session musicians and freelance journalists, which were taken from them 12 years ago by a ruling of the Competition Authority.

"That ruling categorised these workers as self-employed persons who if they combined to set prices for their services could be charged for instituting anti-competitive practices.

"Since that ruling was made our members in SIPTU, Irish Equity, the Musicians Union of Ireland and the National Union of Journalists have campaigned for an amendment to the law that would exempt these categories of workers.

"The passing by Seanad Éireann today of a Bill which will allow freelance workers, such as musicians, actors or journalists, who personally provide work or perform services, to collectively bargain with their employers, is an important step in reinstating rights to them that should be available to all workers.

"This Bill when enacted will be crucial in protecting vulnerable workers in the Arts and Culture Sector from precarious working conditions.

"In order to assist these workers in engaging in collective bargaining, SIPTU intends to launch a major organising campaign in this Sector in the coming months."

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