Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Willie O’Dea has said that there are a number of significant issues that the Government has failed to address in the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2011 which has been published today in order to reform the JLC/REA system. 

Deputy O’Dea said: “Following the High Court ruling in July which found that the laws on minimum pay and conditions set under Employment Regulation Orders proposed by JLCs to be unconstitutional the Labour Party said they would restore protection for workers.  The legislation published by Minister Bruton today fails to deliver on a number of key areas. 

“JLCs will no longer be in a position to set Sunday premium rates, there will be a standardising of overtime and other employment benefits and there will be real concern about the inability to pay clause.  There is no clarity on how this is going to be policed and it could be open to abuse.  Furthermore, if it is framed along the lines of the terms in the last national partnership agreement it leaves the door open for the complete dismantling of protection for workers. 

“Following the rationalisation of JLCs from 13 to 6 I am deeply concerned about the criteria on which new JLCs may be established, in particular, for the comparing of sectoral wages with rates in other countries where conditions could be considerably less favourable than Ireland.  We also need clarification on how workers under conditions of previous JLCs will be protected. 

“After months of delay in bringing forward this legislation and rejecting a Bill Fianna Fáil brought before the Dáil on July 19th the Minister has short-changed workers with these proposals and there is a lack of clarity as to how workers under the old regime are going to have their previous conditions adhered to.  It does not restore the protection that was in place prior to the High Court ruling in July.  Minister Bruton seems to be of the view that can slip this announcement out over the Christmas and hope to avoid criticism from his Government colleagues in the Labour Party and those in the trade union movement. 

“The concerns we raised following the High Court ruling have not been addressed here and there has been a complete failure on the part of the Government to restore protection for workers.   We will be putting down significant amendments to this legislation and I expect Labour Party TDs to be supportive of that or abandon their promises to stand up for workers.”