Collective bargaining proposals due soon - Gilmore

Thursday 19 September 2013 17.40
Eamon Gilmore also said he hoped to see some progress on REAs before the end of the year
Eamon Gilmore also said he hoped to see some progress on REAs before the end of the year

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he expects to see proposals for improved collective bargaining rights for trade unions later in the autumn.

He was speaking at an international trade union conference organised by the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union.

Mr Gilmore also said that work was being carried out in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on proposals to reinstate the Registered Employment Agreement wage-setting mechanisms.

The REA system which governed pay and conditions for around 200,000 lower paid workers was struck down by the Supreme Court last May.

Mr Gilmore said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton had already made it clear that the Government would address the issue.

He said there was a court decision that had to be responded to, adding that it is a complex area but work is being done on it.

Mr Gilmore said he would hope to see some progress before the end of the year.

The Tánaiste said that there was a commitment in the Programme for Government to legislate for collective bargaining.

He said the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation was working on proposals and said he expected Mr Bruton to come back with proposals in the autumn.

He said they would then proceed to draft legislation on that basis.

Asked whether the legislation would be passed in the anniversary year of the 1913 Lockout, he said there had never been a commitment to do so this year, but rather in the lifetime of the Government.

He said he thought it was significant that the Government was taking steps to bring forward legislation in 1913 which has a huge resonance for the trade union movement.

TEEU General Secretary Eamon Devoy told the conference that since the collapse of the REA system last May, the union had served strike notice over pay and conditions in 15 cases.

He said all 15 employers had "caved in" and were observing and maintaining the standards the union had set in the electrical industry over many years.

He said his message to employers was that the union was doing quite well despite their activities in the Supreme Court.

He warned if employers wanted to have an agreement under the Registered Employment Agreement system, it would not necessarily be on their terms.

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