Within the next few weeks, I get to vote on the latest national pay deal, Towards 2016.
The first paragraph speaks of ‘a dynamic, internationalised and participatory Irish society and economy, founded on a commitment to social justice and economic development that is both environmentally sustainable and internationally competitive’.
Behind the lofty ideals is a pay agreement: a six percent pay rise over twentyone months.
Now ICTU worries that workers will use the pay deal as a referendum on the Budget.
Normally, pay agreements don’t affect me, but this one has a clause affecting freelances.
For years, the NUJ negotiated going rates for freelances.
Then the Competition Authority decided freelances should be treated like private companies.
The result: NUJ agreements were redefined as cartels.
Similar rulings covering actors and musicians caused chaos. Draw up a budget for a theatre or film production, and you risk going to court for price-fixing.
The latest agreement tackles the over-enthusiastic interpretation of the law by the competition authority.
A new law will ‘exclude voice-over actors, freelance journalists and session musicians’ from the Competition Act, with an escape clause about ‘consistency with EU competition rules’.
What do you know, I got a stake this time.