back to article Seagate used bullying tactics to prevent union recognition, claims Unite

Seagate workers building external hard drives in Northern Ireland have voted for trade union recognition, meaning they now have collective bargaining rights and potentially a layer of employment protection. Unite the union says the yes vote was delivered "overwhelmingly" by the 540 "manufacturing specialists" that operate out …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    "Seagate bosses tried to put every obstacle they could to prevent their workers securing union recognition but our members had the determination needed to carry their campaign to victory,"

    Well, they could have fired them and rehired through umbrella or as deemed employees. That would make unions irrelevant and employment rights a thing of the past.

    Not saying they should, just that our infinitely wise government created such option as one of Brexit benefits (it would most likely have been illegal in the EU).

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Possibility

      " (it would most likely have been illegal in the EU)"

      Actually the UK 'deemed employee' regulations predate Brexit. As to its legality in the EU, I suspect it's probably a matter for individual state legislatures.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Possibility

        Deemed employee was not an entity until the changes to IR35 for public sector in 2017.

        The EU rules about workers' rights are more relaxed when it comes to public sector (member states have more leeway), so that's why it was introduced to public sector first.

        They had to wait for introduction in private sector until after we have formally left - and this is the reason it was delayed until 2021, as there was a grace period after formal withdrawal in 2020.

        These changes are incompatible with several EU directives so they wouldn't be allowed had UK stayed in the EU.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Possibility

          I see I am getting downvotes without counter arguments... so I'll bite.

          Here are potential breaches of EU directives:

          Clear Violation of the Equal Treatment of Temporary Agency Workers (Directive 2008/104/EC):

          IR35's treatment of individuals as 'employees' for tax purposes, while denying them equivalent employment rights, directly contravenes this directive's requirement for equal treatment of temporary agency workers. This directive mandates parity in working and employment conditions for temporary workers compared to permanent employees.

          Breach of Protection for Self-Employed Workers (Directive 2010/41/EU):

          By imposing employee-like tax burdens on self-employed individuals without granting corresponding rights, IR35 violates the principles of this directive, which seeks to ensure equal treatment and social protection for self-employed individuals - focusing on gender quality. For instance, it is perfectly legal to sack deemed employee upon news they got pregnant.

          Infringement of the Freedom of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services (Articles 49 and 56 TFEU):

          IR35 creates an imbalanced environment for smaller businesses and independent contractors, undermining their ability to compete and establish themselves in the market. This represents a clear breach of the TFEU principles that guarantee freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services across EU member states.

          Breach of EU State Aid Regulations:

          EU rules strictly prohibit state actions that create a competitive imbalance by favouring certain companies or sectors. In the case of IR35, the regulation inflicts a substantial tax burden on smaller entities (taxed on revenue), a financial obligation not imposed on larger corporations operating the same business model. This inequitable treatment effectively provides larger companies with a competitive advantage, as they are not subjected to the same tax constraints. Such a scenario aligns with the definition of state aid under EU law, as it offers indirect benefits to larger firms, thereby distorting the market's competitive equilibrium.

          Contravention of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

          IR35's framework, which results in unequal treatment of certain workers and businesses, contravenes the Charter's provisions on equality before the law (Article 20) and non-discrimination (Article 21).

          Disproportionate Impact and Violation of Proportionality Principle:

          IR35 disproportionately affects smaller businesses and self-employed individuals, which could be considered a violation of the EU's requirement for laws to be proportional and not excessively burdensome, particularly to smaller market participants.

          There is probably more...

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. abend0c4 Silver badge

    We wouldn't bet on Seagate trimming more personnel

    Presumably they can only do that to workers on the SSD line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They got their recognition, but it was a hard drive getting there......

  3. CountCadaver Silver badge

    I wouldn't bet against that facility facing the chop for "efficiency reasons" as part of a "facility consolidation"

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