New system for determining pay and conditions on the way

Legislation to replace Registered Employment Agreement system will allow for setting of pay rates

The government said that the new measures are aimed at supporting the development of a sustainable competitive construction sector.

The government said that the new measures are aimed at supporting the development of a sustainable competitive construction sector.

Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 17:00

Work is to commence on a legislative framework to replace the registered employment agreement (REA) system and allow for the setting of pay rates and conditions for workers in particular sectors of the economy. This will provide “certainty for staff and businesses tendering for contracts, promote industrial peace, and ensure Irish firms are not placed at competitive disadvantage” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said this morning.

The move follows a decision by the Supreme Court last May to strike down as unconstitutional the system of REAs, which had been in place under legislation dating from the 1940s and which had covered up to 300,000 workers.

“This is an important step in ensuring that businesses have certainty around wage costs when they tender for contracts. It is a crucial means of helping to provide for industrial peace, and in ensuring that irish companies are not put at a disadvantage when tendering for contracts,” Mr Bruton said, adding that a series of new safeguards have been put in place to ensure that these systems do “not become rigid and inflexible, and do not become an impediment to job-creation in a fast-changing economic environment”.

The new mechanism will allow unions and employers to apply to the Labour Court to initiate a review of pay/pensions/sick pay terms of workers in a particular sector and make recommendations to the Minister for the making of an order in these areas. The new mechanism will also provide for flexibility in response to changing economic circumstances or changes in the make-up of a sector.

The new legislation will also help provide certainty for employees as well as for businesses tendering for contracts. It will also help “promote industrial peace in the crucial construction sector, and establish universal standards which will help prevent Irish firms being undercut in tendering for contracts”.

Mr Bruton said he intends to have the legislation published during the next Dáil session, with a view to its enactment as soon as possible thereafter.