The employers' group IBEC has warned that any attempt to introduce mandatory union recognition would cost jobs.

Director of Industrial Relations Brendan McGinty said that in the course of the Lisbon Treaty campaign, the incorporation of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights was heralded by some as creating a need for new legislation for collective bargaining.

However, he said despite that, EU member states can continue to exert considerable control over how collective bargaining and strike action are regulated.

Mr McGinty was speaking at an IBEC employment law conference in Dublin this morning.

He disputed suggestions that the Lisbon Treaty created a legal requirement for a law change in Ireland.

He added that any move in that direction would act as a major disincentive to foreign direct investment in Ireland and would cost jobs.

The issue of collective bargaining rights has been controversial since a Supreme Court ruling in the Ryanair case, which dramatically reduced the scope of legislation granting limited rights of representation to workers in non-union companies.

Many trade unionists backed the Lisbon Treaty on the grounds that Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights would lead to enhanced representational rights for employees.

Mr McGinty also described the Employment Law Compliance Bill, which aims to enhance protection for workers, as redundant.

He said that the National Employment Rights Authority is already effective in its current form.