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Government approves drafting of legislation to provide for replacement for Registered Employment Agreements – Minister Bruton

1st August 2014 - Richard Bruton TD

The Government has approved the preparation of legislation to provide for a

revised legislative framework to replace the Registered Employment

Agreement system, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard

Bruton TD and Minister of State for Business and Employment Gerald Nash TD

announced today (Friday).



The move comes following the judgment by the Supreme Court in McGowan and

others v the Labour Court, Ireland and the Attorney General , which held

that Part III of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 was invalid having

regard to Article 15.2.1 of the Constitution. The effect of this was to

invalidate the registration of employment agreements previously registered

under that piece of legislation.



The new mechanism will allow unions and employers to apply to the Labour

Court to initiate a review of pay/pensions/sick pay terms of workers in a

particular sector and make recommendations to the Minister for the making

of an order in these areas. The new mechanism will also provide for

flexibility in response to changing economic circumstances or changes in

the make-up of a sector.



The new legislation will help provide certainty for employees as well as

for businesses tendering for contracts. It will also help pomote industrial

peace in the crucial construction sector, and establish universal standards

which will help prevent Irish firms being undercut in tendering for

contracts. It will form part of a package of measures aimed at supporting

the development of a sustainable, competitive Irish construction sector and

create jobs in this crucial area.



Speaking today, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard

Bruton TD, said:



“A central part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is supporting the

development of a sustainable, competitive construction sector and creating

jobs in this crucial area. Part of this is providing for a mechanism to

replace the Registered Employment Agreements between staff and employers in

the area. This is an important step in ensuring that businesses have

certainty around wage costs when they tender for contracts. It is a crucial

means of helping to provide for industrial peace, and in ensuring that

irish companies are not put at a disadvantage when tendering for contracts.



“However it is also crucial to ensure that these systems do not become

rigid and inflexible, and do not become an impediment to job-creation in a

fast-changing economic environment. For these reasons we have put in place

a series of new safeguards, to ensure that employer and employee bodies are

substantially representative, to provide for reviews of obligations in

response to changing economic circumstances, and to ensure that they do not

become a factor that causes the collapse of firms in financial difficulty.



“I intend to have the legislation published during the next Dáil session,

with a view to its enactment as soon as possible thereafter. This will be

an important step in developing a sustainable, competitive and jobs-rich

construction sector in the years ahead, which we so badly need”.



Minister of State for Business and Employment, Gerald Nash TD, said:



“REAs provided a practical and successful mechanism for workers and

employers to agree proper sectoral terms and conditions that brought about

wage and industrial relations stability as well as ensuring the maintenance

of industry standards. The striking down of REAs meant that this important

facility was absent. This framework, albeit amended to reflect the Supreme

Court, will mean that local level agreements can be reached and registered

and broader sectoral terms and conditions set that will deliver good terms

and conditions for workers and wage stability and industrial peace for

employers. This is especially important as the economic recovery, so hard

fought for, gathers momentum”.

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