SIPTU has welcomed the progress of the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2016, from the Seanad to Dáil Eireann. This Bill, which seeks to return collective bargaining rights to freelance workers, was debated in the Dail on Tuesday (28th February) and continues to travel through the legislative process with all party support. Irish Equity Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin, said: “We are very pleased that this Bill, which seeks to return the right to collective bargaining for actors, freelance musicians and journalists continues to have all party support. This important legislation is travelling a long journey, originating as it did in the Seanad and when complete will allow Irish Equity, the Musicians Union of Ireland (MUI) and the NUJ to negotiate effectively for their members and in particular for the Irish Equity members who are working as voiceover actors.  Irish Equity will continue to work with the Government and all interested parties to ensure that the Bill moves through the Select Committee stage as efficiently as possible”. Graham Macken, MUI Organiser, said: “The exploitation of freelance musicians is nothing short of shocking. Musicians and actors are the original precarious workers and this legislation offers a unique opportunity to rectify this though effective collective bargaining”. Irish Equity President Padraig Murray, said: “It has been 12 years now since the Competition Authority prevented our union from negotiating effectively for Irish Equity voiceover actors and this has seen a significant deterioration in the terms and conditions under which these artists work. We have been lobbying hard all this time and we gathered in the gallery of the Dáil to watch the debate with interest. We are very appreciative of the support all of the parties are giving to this Bill and we will continue to press for the enactment of the legislation.”