Fair City actor Tony Tormey is demanding that RTE CEO Dee Forbes be subpoenaed as a witness over contract claims

Fair City actor Tony Tormey wants RTÉ CEO Dee Forbes to be subpoenaed as a witness in his labor lawsuit against the state broadcaster.

It was also heard at the preliminary hearing on his complaint before the Workplace Relations Commission that Mr Tormey was making €4,500 a week when he filed his papers.

His case under the Protection of Workers (Temporary Work) Act 2003 was brought to court this morning.

Mr Tormey, who plays Paul Brennan on RTÉ’s flagship soap opera, says he has a legal right to a permanent contract.

That claim is disputed by the broadcaster, who claim it has always been “happy” to be a self-employed contractor.

He is believed to be one of three veteran Fair City players making similar claims in the Labor Court – along with George McMahon, who plays Mondo O’Connell, and Jim Bartley, who plays Bela Doyle.

Conor Bowman SC, acting on behalf of Mr Tormey on the instructions of Brenda Dunne of Liston & Co., said his client was entitled to a permanent contract “by operation of law” in 2004, when the law came into force.

He said his client had already completed a series of “rollover” deals dating back to 1989.

Adjudicating Officer Breiffni O’Neill stated that if he were to award a fixed-term contract in the case, it was not clear what terms of employment might apply to it and that these must have changed over the course of a decades-long engagement.

Mr Bowman said his client’s terms had “not changed at all” and the only change had been a drop in the amount of work offered by RTÉ during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The court was told that Mr Tormey was working an average of 31 filming weeks a year and was earning €4,500 a week when he lodged his complaint.

“Mr. Tormey himself declared himself an independent contractor,” said Mairead McKenna SC, who was acting for RTÉ on the direction of Arthur Cox lawyers and the channel’s in-house counsel.

She said Mr Tormey’s earnings varied from year to year – from €150,000 in 2016 to €99,000 the following year.

“One of the problems in the correspondence is a tax audit of Mr. Tormey’s tax affairs and finding that they left something to be desired,” she said.

Ms McKenna said references to the audit sent by Mr Tormey’s lawyers indicated “very significant earnings and a very significant income tax liability” over a two-year period.

She said RTÉ wanted full details of the audit to be given to the court to “get under the bonnet” and “investigate other earnings in which we believe Mr Tormey was involved”.

“She makes very valid points, Mr. Bowman,” said Judgment Officer Breiffni O’Neill.

“Yes, I accept the tax audits,” replied the applicant’s lawyer. “For the same reason, we say that RTÉ was aware of his status and misrepresented him as self-employed,” he added.

The broadcaster was aware that its client was entitled to a permanent contract at least in 2017 when it received a report from consulting firm Eversheds on the employment status of a group of workers treated as contractors, including the Fair City actors.

“Ms. McKenna said he was ‘happy’ to classify as an independent contractor. It’s not about luck, it’s about the law,” said Mr Bowman.

“This agreement came about because of agreements worked out by RTÉ … because it suited them, but not my client,” he said.

He said he was seeking a subpoena for the network’s CEO, Dee Forbes, to testify about the Eversheds reports.

Ms McKenna said a subpoena for Ms Forbes was “entirely unnecessary and inflammatory”.

She said before the case could proceed, an issues paper would need to be drafted and a case management conference held to determine the scope of the matter, the timeframe of the dispute and the status Mr Tormey was claiming at the relevant times.

“I’m always open to suggestions,” said Mr. Bowman.

“Particularly good ones,” said Mr. O’Neill.

“Mr Tormey, do you have any questions?” Mr O’Neill said to the complainant.

“Not yet, no,” Mr. Tormey replied.

The adjudicator closed the hearing and adjourned the matter for a case management conference and the development of an issue paper.

https://www.independent.ie/news/fair-city-actor-demands-rte-director-general-dee-forbes-summonsed-as-witness-over-contract-claim-42118925.html Fair City actor Tony Tormey is demanding that RTE CEO Dee Forbes be subpoenaed as a witness over contract claims

Fry Electronics Team

Fry Electronics.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@fry-electronics.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button