Review of RTE Contracts Demands Urgent Response

22 Jun 2018

Patricia King Patricia King speaking at BDC 2017

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on RTÉ to immediately set in train a process to rectify the position of workers who have been forced to accept self-employed contracts at the organisation.  Congress has also supported the call for a sectoral review of employment standards in the media, arts and culture sectors.

Following presentation of a legal review conducted by Eversheds Sutherland Patricia King, General Secretary, ICTU said RTÉ “can no longer pretend there is not a problem with bogus contracts of self-employment and must make rectifying the situation an immediate priority”.

In a statement Ms King said: “The ICTU fully endorses the position of the RTÉ Trade Union Group. An independent legal review commissioned by the organisation confirms what the trade union movement has been arguing over many years.

RTÉ has been engaging worked on self-employed contracts inappropriately and in clear breach of well understood guidelines on employment status.  Holidays, maternity leave, paternity leave, sick pay, access to pensions and the right to apply for promotional posts were denied to those forced to accept what were effectively bogus self-employed contracts in order to make a living.  There was no real choice involved for those workers and when they objected they were denied the right to trade union representation.

Against that backdrop RTÉ must immediately take steps to right the wrongs identified in this report. It would be unconscionable for RTÉ to delay the process of rectifying the situation beyond a reasonable period. In the meantime I welcome the decision of management to accept the report and to work with the Trade Union Group and affiliate unions, who have shown leadership on this issue.

The media, arts and culture sectors are unique in the variety of employment relationships which exist and there will always be a need for genuine freelance workers. The law allows for different employment contracts and there is no justification for the level of abuse of bogus self-employed contracts.  The RTÉ report highlights a wider industry problem and the Minister for Social Protection should consider a sectoral review of employment standards in the industry, with particular reference to bogus self-employment. There can be no hiding behind perceived business needs or imagined prerogatives to justify bogus employment contracts”.

 

For further information contact: Patricia King, General Secretary on 01 8897777