The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2018 was published on 20 July 2018. The purpose of this Bill is to facilitate access by An Garda Síochána to the services of the WRC and Labour Court by amending the definitions to capture members of the Garda Síochána as 'workers' and the Garda Commissioner as 'employer' for the purposes of section 23 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 1990. This Bill is expected to shortly commence Committee Stage in the Dáil.
Any decision to seek access to the services of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Labour Court by the Defence Forces is a matter for the Minister for Defence.
Access to the industrial relations machinery of the State is governed by the definition of “worker” in Section 23 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990, which provides, inter alia, that a “worker” means any person aged 15 years or more who has entered into or works under a contract with an employer.
In addition, Section 3 of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 provides that a dispute between a worker and an employer only arises if it is connected with the employment, non-employment or the terms of the employment or with the conditions of employment of any person.
Where a person is retired they cannot have a dispute concerning their employment or non-employment. However, a matter which arose prior to an individual’s retirement and which was referred to the Workplace Relations Commission or Labour Court prior to the individual’s retirement can be investigated.
Access for individual former employees to the industrial relations machinery of the State under the Industrial Relations Acts, where they have not referred their claim prior to their retirement, was extended by the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015. This was done by means of an amendment to Section 26 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990. Such access is limited to 6 months from the date employment ceased. This may be extended to a further 6 months if reasonable cause is shown.