Thursday, 3 October 2019

Ceisteanna (115)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

115. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of recommendations issued by the Labour Court in each of the years 2016 to 2018 in cases in which the court recommended that the employer recognise the right of a union concerned to represent workers in the relevant employment for the purpose of collective bargaining in tabular form; the number of such recommendations from each of the relevant years that were accepted and implemented by the relevant employers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40256/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

YEAR

UNION RECOGNITION RECOMMENDED

2016

2

2017

3

2018

7

These cases relate to referrals to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 whereby the referring party agrees to be bound by the recommendation. As it is at the employer’s discretion whether to accept the recommendation or not, no statistics on implementation are available.

Irelands system of Industrial Relations is based in voluntarism and while the right of workers to form associations and join a trade union is enshrined in Article 40 of the Irish Constitution there is no obligation on employers to recognise any union for the purposes of collective bargaining. 

Notwithstanding this, it has been the consistent policy of successive Irish Governments to promote collective bargaining through legislation. Most recently, a decision by this Government to legislate for an improved framework in this area resulted in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015.

This legislation provides a clear and balanced mechanism by which the fairness of the employment conditions of workers in their totality can be assessed in employments where collective bargaining does not take place.

The legislation ensures the retention of Ireland’s  voluntary system of industrial relations, but it also means that where an employer chooses not to engage in collective bargaining either with a trade union or an internal ‘excepted body’, and where the number of employees on whose behalf the matter is being pursued is not insignificant, an effective framework exists that allows a trade union to have the remuneration and terms and conditions of its members in that employment assessed against relevant comparators and determined by the Labour Court, if necessary.