Speaking in the Dáil last night, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, said the Government has a responsibility to clamp down on state monies being used to facilitate bogus self-employment in the construction sector and called for immediate intervention.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The practice of bogus self-employment has been rampant across numerous sectors for some time now. It is particularly prevalent in construction, IT, universities, the gig economy, and many more. This abhorrent practice makes winners out of bad employers and it makes losers out of good employers, workers, and the state.
“The Government must commit itself to outlawing this practice in every sector of the economy, but it must take a particularly firm hand with the construction sector. This is especially true of where state money is being spent.
“Recently, a significant amount of information has been provided to me highlighting how state monies being spent by Local Authorities is being used to facilitate bogus self-employment in the construction sector by building and construction contractors.
“There is no oversight from these Local Authorities as to how the contractors who have won tenders treat their workers and if they are respecting the legal Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) rate of pay.
“I have seen payslips from workers who are working on contracted jobs for Local Authorities who are not being paid the SEO rate, who are not receiving any pension contributions, and whose PRSI is not being paid.
“Many of these exploited workers are afraid to speak up for fear they will be blacklisted within the construction sector and not be able to get any future employment.
“The Government has a duty, as do Local Authorities, to ensure that where state money is being spent that the legally agreed SEO rate is being paid, that workers’ rights are being respected, and that bogus self-employment is not happening.
“There is obviously a need for value for money where state money is being spent, but workers’ rights, workers’ pay, and workers’ terms and conditions cannot be sacrificed to that end.”