The Programme for Government contains a commitment to reform the current law on employees' right to engage in collective bargaining (the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001), so as to ensure compliance by the State with recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. With this in mind, in late 2012 I wrote to relevant stakeholders inviting their observations on the matter. Submissions were subsequently received and a series of initial first step meetings took place between Departmental officials and stakeholders around mid-2013. Discussions with stakeholders are ongoing.
I hope to be in a position to bring the matter to Cabinet soon. In this context, I am certain that satisfactory arrangements can be put in place that will reconcile Ireland’s constitutional, social and economic traditions, and international obligations, whilst at the same time ensuring continued success in building Ireland’s domestic jobs-base and in attracting overseas investment into the economy.