Why we must oppose the national pay deal
AS THE Journalist is being read, NUJ members in the Republic of Ireland are being balloted on whether or not to accept the current National Pay Deal.
The Irish Executive Council is recommending a “yes” vote, notably in relation to freelance bargaining rights: until now the NUJ has been unable to negotiate on freelances’ behalf as the Competition Authority consider them to be businesses and it would be considered price-fixing.
As a freelance I welcome the proposed ending of this ridiculous law which prohibits the NUJ from negotiating on my behalf and setting out Union rates.
But why is the government suddenly concerned about the rights of freelances when legislation to that effect could be introduced any time and unconditionally?
The pay deal isn’t just about the collective bargaining rights of fewer than 1,000 NUJ freelances in Ireland. This pay deal will directly impact on 650,000 trade union members, who are facing the worst financial crisis in 80 years.
Since the IEC recommended that members accept this “pay deal”, the government has introduced a direct levy of 1 per cent and slashed the education and health budgets. Even the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has criticised the levy as an indiscriminate attack on the low paid.
Whatever gains may have been claimed in the national pay talks have been eroded in the recent budget.
This is a pay cut. I joined the NUJ to protect and fight for my interests and rights. This should not come at a cost to the rights and welfare of the rest of the nation.
Members should vote “no” to the national pay deal.