Thursday, 12 July 2012
Industrial Relations (Amendment)(No. 3) Bill 2011: Committee Stage
Mary White (Fianna Fail)
The legislation gives any future Minister carte blanche to terminate at will a registered employment agreement or, more seriously, an employment regulation order simply because he or she considers it appropriate to do so. This is not what was envisaged when the Duffy-Walsh review group suggested changes to the position obtaining at that time because it was conscious of legal difficulties. It is appropriate and probably necessary to grant a general supervisory power to the Minister to cure the constitutional defect in the legislation. However, for him to include in the legislation an excuse to exercise absolute power to refuse to accept an ERO on a whim is not one but several steps too far. The provision is unacceptable. It removes from workers at the lower end of the payscale who are not unionised or properly represented the entire protection that has been in place since 1946; the entire employment regulation system. It can be terminated at will by a Minister taking a decision not to proceed with an order simply because he or she does not believe that it is appropriate.