Registered employment rules key part of new Bill

Minister of State Gerald Nash says measure significant for workers and employers

New industrial relations legislation was "a significant step forward for workers and employers'', said Minister of State for Jobs Gerald Nash

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“It provides a clear, workable and constitutionally robust framework within which workers’ remuneration and conditions of employment can be discussed and determined,’’ he told the Dáil.

He was confident the framework would fit Ireland’s constitutional, social and economic traditions and its international obligations. It would ensure continued success in creating jobs and attracting investment into the economy.

The Minister said the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill would reintroduce the registration of employment agreements between employers and unions in individual enterprises. It would provide for a new framework to replace the former sectoral registered employment agreements.

Mr Nash said they were, in essence, voluntary agreements, negotiated between a business and its workforce through unions. “The content has to be settled between the parties themselves and is not imposed by Government.’’

He said the Labour Court would be entitled to initiate a review of the pay, pension and sick pay entitlements of workers of a particular class, type or group in a particular sector and then make a recommendation to the Minister.

Enforceable order

Where the Minister was satisfied the process provided for in the new legislation had been complied with by the court, he or she would make a fully enforceable order.

Fianna Fáil spokesman Dara Calleary said he welcomed much of the Bill. "It is important to recognise that the vast majority of employers are not Dunnes Stores or some other operations that have gone to court to suppress workers' rights.''

Sinn Féin spokesman Peadar Toibin said compliance across industrial relations had been weakened under the Government's watch.