Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

JLC system needs radical overhaul  Report

Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD has announced the publication of the Report of the Independent Review of Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) and Registered Employment Agreement Wage Setting Mechanisms.

The minister also set out a time-limited programme for the Government to make a decision and announced on an action plan before the end of June 2011.

The report concludes that the basic framework of the current JLC/REA regulatory system should be retained yet needs radical overhaul. The justification for the JLC system is given there is no other system in place to determine pay and conditions of employment.

Competitive gains, the report concludes, could be accrued by making the JLC system more flexible and responsive to the needs of particular sectors. A “well designed” framework for collective bargaining should be established in place of the old system. 

Following an investigation, the report suggests that lowering of the basic JLC rates to the level of the minimum wage rate would be unlikely to have a substantial effect on employment.

The report proposes that the Organisation of Working time Act 1997, which allows for overtime and premium payments to those working on Sundays, needs to be addressed to “ensure uniform and fairer arrangements”.

While REA and EROs were beyond the remit of the report group, the REA system too is in need of significant reform.

The report group also offered a number of recommendations such as the abolition of certain JLCs; the amalgamation of other JLCs, such as the 2 Catering JLCs; JLCs and the Labour Court must adhere to the principles and policies in fixing the terms of an ERO; the Sunday premium should be standardised across the various JLCs; and that the Industrial Relations (Amendments) Bill 2009 be enacted.

In an upcoming article in the June issue of the Public Affairs Ireland Journal,David Fitzsimons, Chief Executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, discusses the necessity for reform of the JLC wage-setting structures to assist Irish businesses and boost employment.