Revised pay plan for 16,000 security workers on hold until legal case resolved

Government says statutory minimum rates will remain unchanged

The Government has said statutory minimum rates of pay and other terms and conditions for about 16,000 people in the security sector will remain unchanged until a legal challenge, which has prevented planning new revised pay arrangements coming into force, is resolved.

In late April, Minister of State for Employment Damien English said he planned to issue an order to give effect to a statutory recommendation of the Labour Court concerning minimum rates of pay and other conditions in the security sector. This order was to have come into effect from the beginning of September.

However, in July three security industry employers lodged an ex-parte application to initiate legal proceedings challenging the underlying legislation in the High Court.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said on Tuesday that as part of the proceedings, the High Court had placed a stay on the Minister, which prevented him from making the planned order that would have seen the introduction of the planned revised terms and condition.

The department said it was in the process of securing legal advice on the matter.

“In the meantime, the department wishes to inform all employees and employers in the security sector that until such time that these legal issues have been resolved, the statutory minimum rates of pay and other terms and conditions in the sector will remain unchanged.”

Proposed rates

The planned new employment regulation order which had been scheduled to come into effect in September would have provided for a new rate of pay for an adult worker in the sector of €12.05 per hour from June 1st, 2021, or from the date of signature by the Minister, whichever was the later.

This would increase to €12.50 per hour from the June 1st, 2022; and €12.90 per hour from June 1st, 2023.

An unsocial hours premium of a minimum of €8.40 per shift would apply under the order for hours worked between 9pm and 7am, provided the worker works at least three hours in that period.

The proposals set out that a worker who had not reached the age of 18 years should be remunerated at an hourly rate of pay that was not less than 70 per cent of the rate specified.

In addition, the planned new order would have seen the introduction of new arrangements in relation to annual leave, working hours and rosters.

The new legal case in the security sector – which focuses on the joint labour committee/employment regulation order process – is the latest in a series of challenges in the courts by various different employers to sectoral wage bargaining mechanisms over the last decade.

In June the Supreme Court overturned a far-reaching High Court finding that a 2015 law, under which separate sectoral employment orders could set minimum pay and conditions within the building sector, was unconstitutional.

In 2012, the then government had introduced a new Act aimed at remedying the constitutional defects in an earlier legislation governing joint labour committees that had been struck out by the High Court the previous year.