Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Mary Hanafin announced that the Government has, in line with its commitment in the National Recovery Plan, 2011 – 2014, established an independent review of the framework of statutory wage setting mechanisms known as Employment Regulation Orders (ERO) and Registered Employment Agreements (REA). The review is also a commitment under the provisions of the joint EU-IMF Programme for Ireland.

Joint Labour Committees

Minimum rates of pay, and other conditions of work, for workers in certain sectors are determined by Joint Labour Committees (JLCs). Each JLC is composed of representatives of workers and employers in the sector concerned. JLCs operate in areas where collective bargaining is not well established and wages tend to be low. Currently, there are 13 JLCs in existence.

While JLCs are established by means of a statutory order made by the Labour Court, they are independent bodies which determine minimum rates of pay and conditions of employment for workers in their respective sectors. The pay and conditions agreed by the JLCs are given the force of law in Employment Regulation Orders made by the Labour Court on foot of proposals made to the Court by the JLCs.

Registered Employment Agreements

Employers and workers in any enterprise or sector can agree minimum rates of pay and conditions of employment and can have that agreement registered with the Labour Court. The effect of registration is to make the provisions of the agreement legally enforceable in the individual enterprise or, as regards sectoral agreements, in respect of every worker of the class, type or group to which it is expressed to apply and to their employers, even if such workers or employers are not a party to the agreement.

There are currently 68 Registered Employment Agreements on the Register maintained by the Court. However, in many cases, the terms and conditions contained in many of these REAs have not been varied in some years. The REAs which are the most significant in terms of the economic sectors and number of workers covered are those that apply to the Construction and Electrical Contracting sectors.

Review

The Review will be conducted jointly by Kevin Duffy, Chairperson of the Labour Court, acting in an ad hoc capacity, and by Dr Frank Walsh, Lecturer, School of Economics, University College Dublin.

Minister Hanafin said: ‘We need to ensure that statutory wage fixing mechanisms work effectively and efficiently and that they do not have a negative impact on economic performance and employment levels. I would strongly urge all interested parties, including those who are party to these mechanisms and agreements, to avail of this opportunity to submit their views to the independent review team on the continued relevance, fairness and efficiency of the current ERO and REA mechanisms.

Submissions

Submissions from all interested parties on issues related to the Terms of Reference of the Independent Review are welcome and should be sent by email to: wagereview@deti.ie. The closing date for submissions is Friday February 25 2011.