The new Section 41A of Industrial Relations Act 1946 (inserted by Section 11 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012) provides that a review of each Joint Labour Committee (JLC) will be carried out by the Labour Court, as soon as practicable after the commencement of the Act, and at least once every 5 years thereafter.
To this end, the Labour Court is currently undertaking an independent review of the ten existing JLCs, including the Retail Grocery JLC. The aim of the review is to ensure that the range of sectors and enterprises to which they apply remains appropriate, with consequent changes to their Establishment Orders if necessary.
Notices were placed by the Labour Court in the national newspapers seeking submissions from interested parties on the issue. The deadline for submissions was 1 March, 2013. I understand that meetings with relevant stakeholders have also taken place on the matter.
In accordance with the provisions of the 2012 Act, the Court is required to conclude its review within 6 weeks of the date specified for receipt of submissions, i.e. by 12 April next.
The outcome of the reviews will inform the Labour Court as to whether any JLC should be abolished, maintained in its current form, amalgamated with another JLC or its establishment order amended, taking into account specific criteria set out in Section 11 of the 2012 Act. The 2012 Act provides that the Labour Court will then make recommendations to the Minister who, if satisfied that the requirements of the Act have been followed, and where he considers it appropriate to do so, make an order in the terms of the recommendation.
If the Minister is not satisfied that the requirements of the Act have been followed, or he considers that it is not appropriate to make an order in the terms of the Labour Court recommendation, he is required to refuse to make the order and to inform the Labour Court in writing of the reasons for his decision.