Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Joint Labour Committees Agreements

Photo of Brendan  RyanBrendan Ryan (Dublin North, Labour)
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206. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps he has taken to ensure the hospitality sector are engaging in agreeing a new joint labour committee for the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47228/14]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Section 41A of Industrial Relations Act 1946 (inserted by Section 11 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012) provides that reviews of each Joint Labour Committee (JLC) be carried out by the Labour Court as soon as practicable after the commencement of the Act, and at least once every 5 years thereafter. In this context the Court undertook a review of the ten existing JLCs in 2013 and made recommendations to me on the issue. On January 28th 2014, I signed Orders to give effect to recommendations of the Labour Court Review.

In this context, the Labour Court recommended that the Hotels JLC for the Dublin area should be abolished and that the Hotels JLC for outside of Dublin should be retained and its Establishment Order amended to clarify the classes of workers covered.

With regard to the two Catering JLCs, I accepted the Labour Court recommendation that the existing scope and structures remain in place and that one person be appointed to chair both JLCs in order to ensure consistency in respect of the related terms and conditions of employment across all of the sector covered by two Joint Labour Committees. Accordingly, it was not necessary to make Orders in these instances.

Industrial Relations Officers of the Labour Relations Commission have been appointed to the positions of JLC Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

Under the Industrial Relations Act 1946, it is a matter for the Labour Court to ensure that equal numbers of representatives of workers and employers in the relevant sectors are on each of the JLCs. In this context, I understand that nominations have been sought from employer and worker representatives in respect of each JLC. To-date, employer representatives have agreed to participate on three JLCs – Security, Contract Cleaning and Hairdressing.

In terms of the hospitality sector, Judicial Review proceedings seeking to have the decision to reconstitute the Hotels JLC quashed have been launched by William Neville & Sons Properties Ltd, trading as the Riverside Park Hotel, and the Irish Hotels Federation. These proceedings are ongoing.

It should be borne in mind that JLC Establishment Orders provide in themselves only a framework within which employers and employee representatives can come together voluntarily and negotiate terms and conditions of workers in their respective sector. For vulnerable workers, the advantage of JLCs is that they see fair terms and conditions such as wage rates, sick pay etc. agreed and given effect by ERO, while for some employers, the advantage of the JLC system, based as it is on the principle of self-governance, means that they can agree and set minimum pay and conditions, agree on work practices which are custom-made to their industry – a flexibility which cannot be achieved by primary legislation. Where both parties to a JLC see commonality of purpose and outcome then an agreement may emerge.

This process sits very much within the context of Ireland's voluntarist system of industrial relations.


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