Government to grant unions greater bargaining powers

Employment agreements for setting pay and conditions to be restored, Tánaiste says

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told an international trade union conference in Dublin that the Government would introduce legislation to restore registered employment agreements. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told an international trade union conference in Dublin that the Government would introduce legislation to restore registered employment agreements. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 17:42

The Government is expected to consider reforms to give trade unions greater rights to collectively bargain on the part of workers later in the autumn, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said.

Addressing an international trade union conference in Dublin he also said the Government would introduce legislation to restore registered employment agreements as a mechanism for setting pay and conditions for thousands of workers. This system of wage determination was struck down by the courts early in the summer.

He said the Department of Jobs and Enterprise was working on proposals to change the laws on collective bargaining and that Minister Richard Bruton would report back to the Cabinet in the weeks ahead.

Mr Gilmore said there was never a commitment to reform the law on collective bargaining in the anniversary year of the 1913 Lockout but rather within the lifetime of the Government.

He said that Mr Bruton had made clear the Government would be addressing the issue of the registered employment agreement.

Mr Gilmore said this was a complex area but work was being carried out and he hoped to see some progress before the end of the year.

Eamon Devoy, the general secretary of the electricians’ union TEEU, who organised the conference, said since the collapse of the registered employment agreement system last May strike notice had been served on 15 employers but all had “caved in to observing and maintain the standards we had set in this industry over many years”.

“Our current message to the employers is that we are doing quite well without the registered employment agreement despite their activities in the Supreme Court. ”

Mr Devoy said if the employers wanted to have an agreement under the registered employment agreement system it would not necessarily be on their terms.

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