Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (12)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

12. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the timetable for finalisation of the legislation relating to work place relations. [33512/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Government is committed to reform of the State’s Workplace Relations Services. The system that developed over the last sixty years had become unwieldy and complex; it lacked consistency, involved long delays and in some cases proved expensive for users. In short, the system was no longer fit for purpose and it was for this reason that I have commenced a root-and-branch reform with the objective of establishing a world-class Workplace Relations Service. Significant progress has been made to date and I am happy to report that in the last eighteen months a number of priority actions have been successfully delivered within the target timescale.

While considerable progress has been achieved to date on an administrative basis, completing the proposed reform requires the enactment of detailed legislation in order to provide the statutory basis for the new structures and processes. A significant amount of work has been completed on the preparation of the Workplace Relations Bill which will give statutory effect to the Reform proposals. In July 2012, I published a policy document – Legislating for a World Class Workplace Relations Service - which was submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in order to give the Committee an early opportunity to shape the legislation. I had a constructive dialogue with the Committee on the basis of this document.

Enactment of the Bill will necessitate amendments to 22 primary acts, 12 specified parts or sections of acts and 71 statutory instruments. The Scheme of the Workplace Relations Bill has been approved by Government for priority drafting and was included on the 'A' list for the Government's Summer Legislative Programme 2013. Engagement is on-going with the Attorney General’s Office and I am committed to the enactment of the legislation at an early stage with a view to having the proposed new structures in place from 2014.

I intend to progress the reform programme to the next stage with the same determination that has delivered the achievements to date. I am working towards delivery of the new two-tier Workplace Relations structure so that from next year two statutorily independent bodies will replace the current five. In the meantime I intend to continue to progress the reform and bring about further enhancements for users of the services on an administrative basis in the coming months.