Written answers

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Labour Court Recommendations

9:00 pm

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 164: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a company refuses to comply with a Labour Court recommendation, the next steps that can be taken by the employees' union. [7847/10]

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 165: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there is any recourse for companies that refuse to comply with Labour Court recommendations. [7848/10]

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 166: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there are structures in place to force a foreign owned company to comply with a Labour Court recommendation; if not, the reason. [7849/10]

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Minister of State with special responsibility for Public Service Transformation and Labour Affairs, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 to 166, inclusive, together.

Responsibility for the resolution of industrial disputes between employers and workers rests with the employer, the workers and their representatives. The State provides the industrial relations dispute settlement machinery free of charge to assist this process, which, in line with the general principles of industrial relations in Ireland, is voluntary in nature. The system of industrial relations and collective bargaining in Ireland is designed to help and support parties in their efforts to resolve their differences, without the intervention of the State.

Institutions that have been established to assist in the resolution of disputes between employers and workers include the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court, independent statutory bodies that act independently in carrying out their functions.

If the issues in a trade dispute cannot be resolved at local level or at conciliation in the LRC, the Labour Court may be called upon to issue its recommendations for resolving the matter. The Labour Court does not issue legally enforceable decisions in disputes referred to it under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. In making recommendations on the terms on which disputes can be settled, the Court relies on its moral authority and integrity as an independent dispute resolution body rather than any legal powers of enforcement to support its recommendations. It is expected that the parties come to this process in good faith and consequently are prepared to give serious consideration to the Court's recommendations.

Ultimately, however, responsibility for the resolution of trade disputes is a matter for the parties involved.

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