Registered Employment Agreements and Sectoral Employment Orders
The Bill will effect some of the most significant changes to the industrial relations landscape in Ireland for some time. With regard to the introduction of a new legal framework for Registered Employment Agreements and Sectoral Employment Orders, some will no doubt argue that such arrangements are anachronisms which should be consigned to the past given the range of employment rights legislation in place today. The reality is that some employers and groups of workers desire a mechanism through which agreements they reach can be made binding.
In relation to sectoral employment orders, the reintroduction of a form of collective agreement which can be made universally applicable within our jurisdiction may prove invaluable in certain sectors which might otherwise face very difficult competition from companies based outside of the jurisdiction. Sectoral Employment Orders may require employers from outside the jurisdiction of Ireland to pay the minimum terms and conditions contained in them.
In relation to the collective bargaining aspect of the Bill, the retention of the voluntarist approach to the conduct of industrial relations is welcome. However, employers must now be clear before any case under the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001 arises for them as to whether they engage in collective bargaining or not. Whereas previously, it was possible to make an argument at the Labour Court hearing that the company had a practice of collective bargaining, it may be more difficult to sustain that argument after the fact once this legislation is in place. Employers who choose not to engage in collective bargaining are likely to benefit from the fact that the Labour Court will now have to consider a broader range of companies’ terms and conditions, including those of companies also favouring a direct engagement model, when considering the merits of applications before them.
Ibec members who are considering the impact of the Bill’s proposals on their businesses are encouraged to contact Ibec’s employment law services unit for further advice at 01 605 1500.
Click to view press release by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD and Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash
Tuesday, 16 June 2015