Call to Publish Report on Bogus Self-Employment

2 Feb 2017

Launch of False Economy Briefing: Pictured are General Secretary Patricia King and report author Fergus Whelan

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on government and the Minister for Social Protection to publish the results of an official inquiry into bogus-self-employment that was set up following a Congress report showing the practice had cost the state over €600 million in lost revenue.*

The inquiry was set up in late 2015 when Congress exposed the widespread nature of bogus self-employment, particularly in the construction sector, and highlighted critical weaknesses in Revenue systems which saw estimated losses in PRSI of some €640 million, since 2007.

Congress official Fergus Whelan said: “Following our report the government agreed to set up an inquiry, with a date for submissions of March 2016. We were informed in late 2016 that the report would be published in January by the Minister for Social Protection, but it has not yet seen the light of day.

“Meanwhile, the state continues to lose revenue and workers in construction – and other sectors – see their standards and protections stripped away as people are effectively coerced into becoming self-employed contractors.”

The call comes on foot of a February 2 European Commission hearing on the Posted Workers Directive (EU Directive 2014/67/EU), which sets standards for those sent abroad to work in other EU states.

Congress has pointed out that Ireland’s failure to transpose the directive fully leaves Posted Workers sent to Ireland without recourse to trade union protection and vulnerable to exploitation.

In a June 2016 letter to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, Congress pointed out that this failure made it difficult for such workers “to vindicate their rights where breaches and abuses arise."

Contributing to the EU Commission hearing, Fergus Whelan said: “Posted Workers in Ireland will be in the same boat as many unorganised Irish workers and will have no protection from existing collective agreements.

“While the phenomenon of the Posted Workers is a growing feature of life in the EU, it is completely overshadowed by bogus self-employment which is destroying decent working condition for workers all over Europe. The Minister for Social protection should stop prevaricating and publish the report without delay,” Mr Whelan said.