Concerns over employment law reform


ASPECTS OF proposals from the Minister for Jobs to reform employment law machinery could fail to deliver necessary reforms and have a significant adverse effect on the Labour Court, say members of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

The tribunal hears cases involving unfair dismissals and is made up of lawyers and representatives of employers and unions.

The vice-chairs and members of the EAT have written a discussion paper on Richard Bruton’s Blueprint to Deliver a World-class Workplace Relations Service. They welcomed many of its recommendations but had reservations over others, particularly on unfair dismissals. They say the existing EAT has a fine record, with 6,064 cases disposed of in 2010, none of which was judicially reviewed.

The proposed new structure will replace the three-person panel with one decision-maker. These persons would for the most part be “lone civil servants with no experience of industry or law . . . It is wrongly assumed that rudimentary training will equip them for this function,” it says.