Ireland | Right to collective bargaining restored for freelancers

Oireachtas logoThe Irish Parliament restores the right of freelance workers to collective bargaining in an amendment to the Competition Act (on 31 May 2017)

On the evening of 31 May, the Irish Parliament adopted the Labour Party proposed Competition Amendment Bill 2016, which aims to introduce exemptions from competition law for certain self-employed workers.

Since a competition ruling was handed down thirteen years ago, agreements negotiated with artists unions on minimum tariffs have been considered as breaches of competition  law.

Musicians, journalists and voice over actors will be the first to take advantage of the reform

To avoid the competition law a union has to prove either that its members are false independent workers (in a subordinate relationship, obliged to follow instructions, do not share the same business risks as their contractors etc.) or are ‘fully dependent’ workers (deriving most of their income from a maximum of two sources), both notions which for the first time are being defined.

Musicians, journalists and voice over actors will be the first to take advantage of the reform as the Senators behind the amendment clearly take a view on the development of independent work in the gig economy.

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