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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 25 Mar 2003

Vol. 563 No. 4

Written Answers - Industrial Relations.

Kathleen Lynch


132 Ms Lynch asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the proposed amending legislation and developments in statutory codes it is intended to bring forward to enhance the procedures by which trade unions can represent their members' interests arising from the recent pay talks with unions and employers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8120/03]

Seán Ryan


138 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when it is intended to introduce the promised amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, 2001, as promised in Sustaining Progress; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8138/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 138 together.

Procedures to resolve industrial disputes in situations where collective bargaining arrangements are not in place were considered by a high level group, established under Partnership 2000. The group comprised representatives from IBEC, ICTU, and various Government Departments and agencies and was chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach. This group recommended a voluntary set of procedures and an amendment to the Industrial Relations Act 1946 to provide a new dispute settling power for the Labour Court. These recommendations were implemented through Statutory Instrument No. 145 of 2000 – the Industrial Relations Act 1990 (Code of Practice on Voluntary Dispute Resolution) (Declaration) Order 2000 – and the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001.

During the recent negotiations between the Government and the social partners on the new partnership programme Sustaining Progress, the need to enhance the effectiveness of these procedures was agreed. A number of measures which will result in significant improvements to the existing procedures will be put in place. These measures include the introduction of an overall timeframe of 26 weeks for processing cases under the code and the Act with provision for a maximum of 34 weeks. Effect will be given to these measures through amendments to the code and to the Act. On ratification of the agreement my Department will consult with trade union and employer representatives to develop proposals for enhancing the existing procedures.