Protest at National Children’s Hospital hears it’s time for state to use purchasing power in battle against bogus self-employment
June 28th: Officials and activists from Unite joined members of other unions this morning to highlight the issue of bogus self-employment on the National Children’s Hospital project. Speaking during the protest, which was also attended by Congress General Secretary Patricia King, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said that a two-pronged approach is needed to stamp out bogus self-employment, which imposes an unacceptable cost on individual workers and the wider economy:
“First and foremost, we need to start with a presumption of employment, and force employers to prove that a worker is not an employee.
“Secondly, the state should start using its considerable purchasing power to exclude companies using bogus self-employment, or other abusive labour practices, from bidding for public contracts.
“This would put an end to the situation whereby the workers building our hospitals or schools are forced into bogus self-employment.
“Public contracts are funded by the taxpayer. In the case of massive contracts like the National Children’s Hospital – where unions are aware of contractors using bogus self-employment to dodge their responsibilities – the taxpayer is effectively being forced to subsidise rogue employers.
Stamping out bogus self-employment would be a win-win-win. It would be a win for workers. It would be a win for the Exchequer. And it would be a win for decent employers who are currently being undercut by those who use bogus self-employment and other labour abuses to keep their prices down”, Tom Fitzgerald said.