Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Sectoral Employment Order (Electrical Contracting Sector) 2021: Discussion

Photo of Maurice QuinlivanMaurice Quinlivan (Limerick City, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I welcome the members for participating in today's meeting in line with the exceptional measures we have to take due the Covid-19 pandemic, and I appreciate everybody's help in this situation. Members are required to participate at this meeting remotely and from within the Leinster House complex only. Members will be well aware of that. Apologies have been received from Deputies O'Reilly and Bruton.

Today's two opening statements have been circulated to the members. The first item on today's agenda is the sectoral employment order, SEO, for the electrical contracting sector. The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 introduced a mechanism for sectoral wage setting, known as sectoral employment orders. This wage-setting mechanism is employed across economic sectors and replaced the previous system known as the registered employment agreement, REA. The intention of the legislative framework governing the SEO is to establish minimum rates of pay, sick leave provisions and pension provisions for a particular sector. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has received the draft SEO for the electrical contracting sector and has laid it before the Houses of the Oireachtas for confirmation. Both the Dáil and the Seanad have referred this to our committee for consideration. To assist the committee in considering the sectoral employment order, I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Damien English, to our meeting.

Before we start, I wish to explain some limitations to parliamentary privilege in the practice of the Houses as regards references witnesses may make to other persons in their evidence. The evidence of witnesses physically present or who give evidence from within the parliamentary precincts is protected pursuant to both the Constitution and statute by absolute privilege. Witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that they should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable, or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory in relation to an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that they comply with any such direction.

I now invite the Minister of State to make his opening statement regarding the proposed sectoral employment order for the electrical contracting sector.