Speaking at a meeting of the Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee this morning, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan welcomed the proposed Sectoral Employment Order for the electrical contracting sector, but warned that the Government must do more to ensure SEOs are enforced.
Senator Gavan said:
“Sectoral Employment Orders (SEOs) are essential in securing decent pay and conditions for workers. I commend the Trade Union movement, and the Connect Trade Union in particular, for delivering the proposed SEO for the electrical contracting sector.
“In addition, SEOs offer the most effective tool to tackle bogus self-employment in the construction sector. These orders are the foundation from which bogus self-employment is tackled.
“However, due to an abject failure by government through a lack of legislation and failure to properly resource and empower the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), workers who are entitled to be covered by SEOs, often find themselves bogusly self-employed.
“Unfortunately, Minister of State Damien English seems to think this isn’t a problem – a detached view that could only be held by someone who doesn’t have a clue of what is happening on the ground in the construction sector.
“The practice of bogus self-employment has been rampant across numerous sectors for some time, particularly in construction, IT, universities and institutes of technologies, transport and haulage, the “gig economy”, and many more sectors.
“SEOs offer the best pay, conditions, and protections for workers, and they are a testament to the power of trade unions.
“However, for workers to be protected from bogus self-employment, then state agencies, such as the WRC and Revenue, must be empowered by government to ensure the SEOs are enforced.”