Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Protection of Young Persons (Employment) (Exclusion of Workers in the Fishing and Shipping Sectors) Regulations 2014: Motion
I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy John Perry, and Mr. Dermot Sheridan from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. I also welcome Ms Hilary Dalton and Mr. Brian Hogan from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. In this part of the meeting we will discuss the draft Protection of Young Persons (Employment) (Exclusion of Workers in the Fishing and Shipping Sectors) Regulations 2014. The Minister of State has been busy today, as he has been travelling all over the country, or at least half of Leinster. I thank him for attending. Our role today is to consider the proposal that the Dáil and the Seanad approve the draft regulations. The committee does not have the power to approve or amend them as doing so is the prerogative of the Dáil and the Seanad. The committee is meeting to discuss them. I invite the Minister of State to make his opening remarks.
I thank the Members of the Oireachtas who were present in Navan this morning for the launch of the LEO. It is very much part of the mission of the committee. The Dundalk LEO was also launched. Members’ support was very much appreciated.
I thank the Chairman and committee members for giving me the opportunity to address them on the draft Protection of Young Persons (Employment) (Exclusion of Workers in the Fishing and Shipping Sectors) Regulations 2014. The draft regulations are before the committee by virtue of the procedural requirements of section 28 of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 which provides that a draft of every regulation proposed to be made under the Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the proposed regulation shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each House. The draft regulations in question are being made as part of a package of ten statutory instruments to give effect to the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention 2006, ratification of which was recently approved by the Government. The other statutory instruments are being made by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who has policy responsibility for the maritime sector.
The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 - hereafter referred to as the MLC - seeks to ensure the employment and social rights of seafarers on Irish ships are fully implemented. Ireland was represented at the 2006 International Labour Conference, at which the MLC was negotiated, by a tripartite delegation consisting of Government officials, nominees of the employers – IBEC – and the workers – the ICTU. I can confirm that both IBEC and the ICTU fully support Ireland’s ratification of the MLC. Currently, the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) (Exclusion of Workers in the Fishing or Shipping Sectors) Regulations 1997, SI 1 of 1997, permit young persons, namely, those who have reached 16 years of age but who have not reached 18 years, to work at night in both the shipping and fishing sectors. This is subject to the proviso that they are allowed equivalent compensatory rest time on the following day. The Maritime Labour Convention which applies only to the shipping sector provides that young persons, those aged 16 and 17 years, working in the shipping sector cannot work at night, except for training purposes. This provision of the MLC is being given effect in regulations being made by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport as part of the package of legislative measures to bring Irish law into compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention. It is, therefore, necessary for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to make new regulations under the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 removing the existing permission regarding night work for young persons in the shipping sector but continuing the permission for young persons in the fishing sector to work at night. In this respect, the draft regulations before the committee are purely technical as the rules governing when and how young persons in the shipping sector can work at night are set out in the aforementioned regulations being made by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
I confirm that the Minister has consulted the social partners and published notice of his intention to make these regulations in accordance with section 8 of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996. I commend the draft regulations to the committee, as they will facilitate the introduction of the new rules governing night workers for young persons in the shipping sector which are required for Ireland to comply with the maritime labour convention.