Presumption of employment crucial to stamping out abuses

unite white out of redProtest 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.

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