Articles A
Supreme Court ruling challenges bogus self-employment
by Niall Shanahan

The unanimous Supreme Court decision, delivered last month, could have very important implications for workers in the gig economy. 

The unanimous Supreme Court decision, delivered last month, could have very important implications for workers in the gig economy.


The Court ruled that delivery drivers working for Karshan (Midlands) Ltd - trading as Domino’s Pizza - should be treated as employees and not contractors.


The Court’s decision means the self-employed status of the Domino’s drivers is considered bogus for tax purposes. The decision marks a significant development, with implications right across the economy. Bogus self-employment is not confined to fast food delivery drivers, it has also been exposed in sectors like media, construction and aviation.


ICTU general secretary Owen Reidy said that while the implications of the decision would have to be weighed up, his initial reaction was positive: “It shouldn’t have come to this, we should have stronger legislation in the first place to guard against bogus self-employment,” he said.


Fórsa national secretary Katie Morgan is vice president of the ICTU and sits on the Determination of Employment Status working group. She welcomed the Supreme Court decision and said it will assist ICTU in the fight against bogus self-employment: “It’s not only the worker that suffers from being denied terms and conditions, but the state suffers the loss of revenue where workers should have been correctly classified.


“This ruling, in addition to recent progress on the bogus self-employment situation in RTÉ, highlights the importance of protecting workers from its exploitative use, in addition to other forms of precarious employment,” she said.


Katie said unions have asked the Government to reconvene the Determination of Employment Status working group in light of the Supreme Court decision. The group includes employer representative bodies IBEC and ISME, as well as senior ICTU officials.


She added: “We’re currently analysing the finding to determine what impact we believe it will have on employment legislation and industrial relations.”


The case against Dominos started in 2018 when the Tax Appeals Commission decided the drivers should be treated as PAYE employees rather than self-employed independent contractors. The Revenue Commissioners has said it’s carefully considering the detail and implications of the ruling.


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Fórsa meets with An Garda Síochána Senior Management on far-right harassment of library workers
by Róisín McKane

Fórsa has held meetings with An Garda Síochána Senior Management regarding the safety of local authority library members and the threat posed by the far-right. 

Fórsa has held meetings with An Garda Síochána Senior Management regarding the safety of local authority library members and the threat posed by the far-right.


The union met with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris as part of a civil society delegation, alongside LGBT Ireland and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland; and with Paula Hilman, Assistant Commissioner, Roads Policing and Community Engagement.


The engagement came after Fórsa wrote to the Garda Commissioner in July, seeking an urgent meeting regarding the ongoing harassment of library workers by far-right agitators.


Since January, Fórsa members working in libraries in many parts of the country have been subjected to agitators entering libraries, harassing library workers, and attempting to remove books they deem to be “inappropriate”.


The union has repeatedly sought for local authorities to protect their employees, and in July wrote to all City and County Council managements calling for protective measures to be enacted to guard library workers from abuse and harassment in their workplace. Some City and Council managements have engaged with Fórsa on this matter, with a number responding to the union’s demands.


Head of Local Government and Local Services Richy Carrothers said that much of the union’s concerns expressed at both meetings is that the ‘soft policing' approach to far-right ‘protests’ is not working and must be changed.


Commissioner Harris acknowledged that the far-right activity emerging in recent years in Ireland is a more virulent form, which is being organised and tutored through the internet and is linked to international extremism. In reference to the suggestion of ‘soft policing’ being the official guidance on the policing of protest, the Commissioner advised that it is his intention that policing is active where there is harassment and intimidation, so that people are properly protected. More recently, a number of arrests were made in Dublin relating to far-right activity, linked to attacks on refugee centres, and the recent protest outside Leinster House.


Commissioner Harris also agreed to review the strategic guidance document on the policing of protests and will develop an action plan to be shared with the civil society representatives for their feedback.


Assistant Commissioner Hilman advised that on foot of similar issues being raised by Fórsa she is issuing a communication to all members of An Garda Síochána providing guidance on the active policing of protests.


Richy welcomed the engagement and the commitments given by both Commissioner Harris and Assistant Commissioner Hilman.


“Workers have been exposed to an unsafe workplace as these agitators freely move around libraries calling staff unimaginable slurs, all the while recording interactions and live streaming to social media. This situation intensified over the summer months after a group of agitators visited many libraries across the country on a “sovereign voyage to protect childhood”. This validated our long-held view that this was not simply a phenomenon contained to Cork City and this activity cannot be tolerated,” he said.


Fórsa is continuing to meet with hundreds of library workers who are experiencing this abuse first hand.


“We proudly represent hardworking library staff across Ireland who do integral work creating inclusive communities. We support our members, and they feel supported by their union. We won’t accept harassment of our members, but they need to see action by their employer. The solidarity shown to our members demonstrates to these groups that harassment will not be tolerated. Workers united will never be defeated,” said Richy.



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Fórsa Youth focuses on cost of living and calls for an end to the housing emergency
by Fórsa Youth Network

Fórsa’s youth network called for an end to the housing emergency at their very first annual general meeting which took place last month. 

Fórsa’s youth network called for an end to the housing emergency at their very first annual general meeting which took place last month.


The network has committed to focusing on issues that particularly affect young people entering the workforce.


Newly elected Chair of Fórsa Youth Isabella De Luca said: “We need to introduce more of our peers to trade unionism and show them that Fórsa is part of the solution to the cost-of-living and housing crises. While our generation is overworked, stressed and underpaid, I believe we are also engaged, empathetic and inclusive. We need future leaders for negotiations on pay and conditions for the workforce, so it’s important that young people see the importance of joining the movement now.”


Branch representatives from across Fórsa’s six divisions were in attendance at the AGM to elect the new steering committee and to participate in a panel discussion on the housing crisis entitled 'Locked Out: The Working Homeless'. Guest speakers included Dr Lorcan Sirr, TU Dublin, Louise Bayliss, Focus Ireland and Jack Ferguson, Community Action Tenants Union.


A motion was passed at the AGM for Fórsa Youth to take an active role in housing and cost-of-living campaigns, with a view to highlighting how the housing crisis and high inflation affects young members and to work towards policy changes in these areas at government level. There was also a strong discussion around disability issues and how bullying in the workplace affects young people.


Fórsa Youth attended the Cost-of-Living pre-budget protest in Dublin on October 7th, joining an alliance of political, trade union, student, environmental and campaigning groups marching from Parnell Square to Leinster House calling for measures to help alleviate the cost-of-living crisis.


Another goal of the incoming steering committee is to recruit young workers as members and activists of the trade union movement.


Fórsa Youth is open to all members between the ages of 18-35 across all divisions of the largest public sector union in Ireland. The primary purpose of the network is to focus on issues and campaigns that are of interest to younger members, encourage participation and to be a voice for young workers.


For further information on Fórsa Youth contact 


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Feature Article
Fórsa donates €100,000 to the UNICEF Gaza Crisis Emergency Appeal
by Niall Shanahan and Hannah Deasy

Fórsa has donated €100,000 to the UNICEF Gaza Crisis Emergency Appeal. The funding will be directed towards the provision of urgently needed water, hygiene dignity kits, tents, blankets, medicines and food.

Fórsa has donated €100,000 to the UNICEF Gaza Crisis Emergency Appeal.


The union’s national executive announced the decision last week at its monthly meeting, which took place in Cork.


Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said Fórsa’s national executive took the decision due to the urgency of the appeal: “The scale of the unfolding human catastrophe in Gaza demands a massive humanitarian response.


“Almost half of Gaza’s population are children. UNICEF has a committed humanitarian team who remain in Gaza and work with trusted local NGOs and civil society groups to distribute urgently needed aid.”


Estimates of the death toll in Gaza now stand at over 9000 people. Urgent and practical support is needed, which is why Fórsa’s executive decided to make this donation,” he said.


Fórsa President Michael Smyth said “Our union is committed to showing global solidarity with people around the world. The devastation in Gaza is appalling. UNICEF’s work to protect children is crucial and we are proud to support them.”


Speaking at UNICEF Ireland's office in Dublin, Kevin Callinan said: "Children in Gaza are being killed everyday. A ceasefire is needed now to stop this suffering. We were honoured to meet with UNICEF Ireland to mark Forsa's €100,000 donation to their emergency appeal and thank them for their vital work."


Acknowledging the donation, UNICEF executive director Peter Power thanked Fórsa and outlined where the funding would be directed in the coming weeks and months, including the provision of urgently needed water, hygiene dignity kits, tents, blankets, medicines and food.


You can read his letter to Fórsa here.


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Also in this issue
Are you a workplace rep? Sign up for one of our trainings!
by Mehak Dugal

The Fórsa Skills Academy regularly runs trainings for our workplace representatives.


There are two levels: Foundational Training is for new reps, and Expanded Training is for those who already have some experience. Read on for further details and upcoming dates.


The Foundational Workplace Representative Training programme is a three-day course for newly elected workplace representatives, or those with less than 2 years representative experience and have never received Fórsa training previously (except for the Fórsa101 information session).


It covers all the basic skills and information that new representatives require to have confidence in the role and get them through their first year.


You can sign up for the Foundational training programme here.


Upcoming Foundational Training dates:

Tuesday 28th - Thursday 30th November LIMERICK

Tuesday 27th - Thursday 29th February SLIGO

Tuesday 26th - Thursday 28th March WEXFORD town (Local Trade Union Centre)

Tuesday 23rd - Thursday 25th April Woodford, Santry, DUBLIN


The Expanded Workplace Representative Training programme is open to those who have more than 2-3 years’ experience in the role of Workplace Representative and have not received any training previously.


Upcoming Expanded Training dates:

Wednesday 10th - Thursday 11th January 2024 NERNEY'S COURT, DUBLIN

Wednesday 7th - Thursday 8th February 2024 LIMERICK

Wednesday 6th - Thursday 7th March 2024 CORK

Wednesday 3rd - Thursday 4th April 2024 GALWAY


Sign up for the Expanded training programme here.


There’s never been a better time to join a union, and it’s never been easier. Join Fórsa today.

Stop the Stigma campaign launches Policy Paper at the Oireachtas
by Mehak Dugal

Ireland's largest trade unions have called for employers and the Government to implement mandatory workplace menstrual and menopausal policies.


The 'Stop the Stigma' trade union coalition launched its position paper in Leinster House on Tuesday 24th of October, which included extensive research and a draft policy of recommended workplace policies in relation to menstruation and menopause. The briefing was hosted by Senator Fiona O’Loughlin, in her role as Chair of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus.


You can read the paper here.


The position paper outlines the need to protect workers’ rights in this context under the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act and the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015. The Coalition said the introduction of appropriate supports would also have a significant impact on sick leave absence rates in Ireland’s workplaces, benefiting hundreds of thousands of workers.


Speaking at the launch, ICTU Vice-President, and General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“With more and more women participating in the workforce, having workable menopause and menstrual policies that protect women at work have never been more urgent. There is a huge need for education and awareness training for all staff in our workplaces, and across society. The silence around women’s health issues is damaging, and it impacts equality in society and at work.


“This is very serious. The potential for women’s careers to be negatively impacted particularly by menopause needs to be eliminated, and education and awareness training are key to reducing stigma and facilitating the vital conversations women need to have at work.


“Development of workplace policies is an employer's responsibility for fostering equality and is vital for retaining skilled staff in their professions.”


The ‘Stop the Stigma coalition’s position paper says that excluding, or neglecting, to address the specific needs of individuals experiencing menopause and menstruation perpetuates gender-based discrimination, and further creates an inequitable work environment. The Employment Equality Acts of 1998-2015 mandate employer responsibility to implement protective policies for all employees.


A spokesperson for the Stop the Stigma Coalition said: “These supports and policies should not be the exception in any modern workplace, they should constitute standard practice. We are calling for modern workplace policies that reflect a modern workforce.


“We believe this is an essential requirement for workplace equality and safety, and a vital step to ensure dignity in the workplace. This really is a low-cost opportunity for employers as they compete to recruit and retain talent in a challenging labour market.”


The group also welcomed Minister Roderic O’Gorman’s announcement of research and guidance for employers and employees on menstruation and menopause in the workplace that is set to be launched early next year.


The ‘Stop the Stigma’ coalition is made up of Fórsa Trade Union, the Financial Services Union (FSU), the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), the Services, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union (SIPTU), UNITE the union, Energy Services Union (ESU) and backed by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).


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Last call for responses to our workplace bullying survey
by Róisín McKane

Fórsa members can still have their say on bullying in the workplace.


Complete this short survey to help provide the union with a more comprehensive understanding of members' experiences of bullying in the workplace or being a witness to bullying.


The survey also sets out to inform policy and procedures when raising such matters with respective employers, and is relevant to all members, including those who have not directly experienced bullying at work. Your contribution is entirely voluntary and anonymous and is in strict compliance with Fórsa's Data Protection policy.


The results of this research will help to provide objective statistical analysis to help inform our upcoming seminar, "Your Right to Dignity in the Workplace", which will take place on Thursday 16th November 2023. Details on how to attend this seminar have been circulated to branches.


The survey can be accessed HERE and will remain open until 18.00 today, Friday 3rd November.


There’s never been a better time to join a union, and it’s never been easier. Join Fórsa today.