Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: From the Seanad
I participated in the debate that took place in July and when Deputy O'Dea put his amendment; I believe it was on the last sitting day of the session. The Minister was very annoyed at the time, but it received much support from different Deputies who had been receiving reports for a long time from affected workers, especially in the building industry. The practice has been rampant on some sites, including some with a close connection with State-funded projects, such as those in the education sector. As I said, the Minister was annoyed and said she would bring something forward. That was in July and we are now close to Christmas. We have not seen the legislation the Minister was to bring forward. If she felt the matter was delaying the Bill, she could have made a proposal in the heads of a Bill or some discussion.
People are trying to pit Dunnes Stores workers against building workers, but it is not a competition and all workers' rights benefit all workers. I am sure there are Dunnes Stores workers who are married to construction workers, etc. There is no reason to delay the Bill, of which this issue is part. If the Minister felt there was a problem, she could have made a proposal in the intervening five months in the light of what we know and what many socialist Deputies have tried to raise in the construction sector going back three or four years. I am sure other Deputies have raised it also. We saw it recently in the schools built which are now falling down or unsafe. It is definitely related to workers being in bogus self-employment. There were too few such workers who were rushed or put under time constraints. This is dangerous for the rest of society and the workers also. We have seen the same happen in many companies and all know workers who have been affected.
As the Minister has brought nothing forward, we cannot, in good conscience, agree to take out this measure. The entire trade union movement should demand that bogus self-employment be dealt with and eradicated. It is not yet a widespread practice, but we all know, for example, of the Ryanair model which is a form of bogus self-employment, although it is different from what we are discussing. There is no maternity pay, which is why there are no female pilots. There are real consequences for workers. It was good that Deputy O'Dea had this measure included and it should not be removed. We should deal with it now.