Tired old solution won’t solve bogus contracts says NUJ

New Code of Practice under fire

The Irish Executive Council (IEC) of the National Union of Journalists has dismissed the proposed new Code of Practice on employment status announced today as “a tired old solution which will not solve the problem of bogus employment contracts.”

The union has called for robust legislation rather than what Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley described at a meeting of the IEC today as “a feeble and inadequate response dressed up in fancy words and breezy photographs of happy workers”.

He said: “The NUJ is currently seeking to vindicate the rights of workers in RTÉ, where a review of bogus, self-employed contracts has not resolved the issue of retrospective rights of workers wrongly misclassified as self -employed workers over many years. Against this backdrop it is shocking to read a code which fails to recognise the genuine losses suffered by misclassified workers.

Employers must be forced to fully compensate for losses suffered but the updated code fails to advance the situation for workers denied employment rights, the opportunity to apply for jobs or promotion and even the right to collective representation.

If a code of practice solved the issue we would not have a problem in RTÉ or anywhere else. What is needed are strong, punitive legal measures which protect the employment status of workers and guarantees retrospective rights when an employee secures a positive outcome from a statutory investigation. Workers who have been forced to accept bogus contracts should not have to go through legal hoops to secure their entitlements.

We support the ICTU position that workers should be classified as direct employees, in the first instance and should not have to incur legal costs to vindicate their rights. Codes of Practice are nice to have but they have been shown to be inadequate and we call on the Minister for Social Protection to go back to the drawing board.”