Unionising freelancers easier said than done

It is easier said than done to unionise freelancers ("Labour movement plans more support for freelancers"; Feb 10).

Unlike a part-timer, who works shorter hours on a permanent basis, a freelancer may be employed for a few days here and there.

In such a situation, it is difficult to unionise such workers, much less lend them union protection and support.

Usually, freelancing work is done on a contract basis, meaning the rate of payment and hours of work are agreed upon by both the employee and the employer.

This being so, there should not be any dispute, such as inequities in terms of payment, working conditions and so forth.

It is much easier for part-timers to seek union protection for the simple reason that they are regular or permanent employees who are entitled to benefits on a pro-rated basis.

There are many people who are freelancing for several companies, such as engineers and accountants who offer professional services.

Likewise, there are some who drive taxis in the morning, and double as security officers in the evening.

Hence, it can be an uphill task to bring them into the union's fold and, at the same time, see what can be done to ensure that they are not deprived of their basic rights.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng