8th June 2017
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has today welcomed the enactment of the Competition (Amendment) Act 2017 (No. 12 of 2017) which was a Private Member’s Bill initiated by the Labour Party. The Act is intended to establish rights for certain categories of self-employed individuals to be represented by a trade union for the purposes of collective bargaining.
The Minister said “I believe that this Act, which met with all Party support in both Houses of the Oireachtas, provides a fine balance in meeting the stated objectives underpinning it whilst, at the same time, remaining consistent with competition law.
I particularly wish to recognise the collaborative and open approach by the Labour Party to working with the Government to progress the Bill through the Houses. It is the first Private Member’s Bill to be enacted in the current Parliament and is an example of what “new politics” can achieve. Not only will it be of benefit to voiceover actors, session musicians and free-lance journalists but it also provides for an application process whereby Trade Unions can apply for an exemption from the application of section 4 of the Competition Act 2002 to collective bargaining and agreements in respect of other specific classes of self-employed workers.”
Note for Editors:
The Competition (Amendment) Act 2017 (No. 12 of 2017) provides for the disapplication of section 4 of the Competition Act to collective bargaining and agreements in respect of certain categories of workers. In summary, the Act provides:
- that a trade union can apply to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for an exemption from the application of section 4 of the Competition Act 2002 to collective bargaining and agreements in respect of specific classes of self-employed workers ;
- for the evidence that must be provided in such an application;
- that the Minister may prescribe by Ministerial Order, following consultation with any other Minister of the Government or any other person or body who ought to be consulted, such classes of self-employed workers to be exempt from section 4 of the Competition Act 2002;
- all orders made under the Competition Act 2002 must be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas which may pass a resolution to annul an order within 21 sitting days;
- for the review of any Ministerial Order in certain circumstances;
- a short title, collective citation and commencement provision; and
- the Act contains a series of definitions including the following two specific definitions:
“false self-employed worker” (using ECJ case law in the Dutch Musicians case (C413/13 FNV Kunsten Informatie en Media V The State of the Netherlands)).
“fully dependent self-employed worker” (using International Labour Organisation (ILO) deliberations).
The Act also inserts a new Schedule 4 to the Competition Act 2002 and so gives effect to a previous Government commitment given in the Social Partnership Agreement entitled "Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-2009 - Amendment of the Competition Act 2002”. The new Schedule exempts those three activities outlined in the “Towards 2016” commitment, namely actors engaged as voice-over actors, musicians engaged as session musicians and journalists engaged as freelance journalists from Section 4 of the Competition Act 2002.
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