IMPACT welcomes new collective bargaining legislation

IMPACT trade union has welcomed the publication of draft legislation on collective bargaining which was published today (Friday 8th May) by Minister Gerald Nash TD.

The legislation, which will allow trade unions to represent members at the Labour Court where employers refuse to recognise unions, and secure legally binding benefits for workers, is expected to become law by the middle of the year. The legislation also provides for robust anti-victimisation protections.

IMPACT, which was the main union involved in the Supreme Court decision on Ryanair in 2007, said the legislation removed a significant obstacle to advancing the pay and conditions of all workers.

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said “The development of this legislation is of vital importance to every worker in the country. Collective bargaining rights will mean that unions and worker representatives will be able to secure benefits in companies where employers refuse to pay the going rate. The legislation will also give new and stronger statutory protection against the victimisation of workers in such companies.”

Mr Cody said the union would immediately begin the process of studying the legislation in detail. The legislation amends the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001, and will bring Irish law in line with recent European Court of Justice rulings, provide clarity on the process of trade unions advancing a claim under the Act, and provide policies and principles for the Labour Court to follow when assessing those workers’ terms and conditions.

The legislation also defines what constitutes “collective bargaining” and offers guidelines to help the Labour Court identify if internal bargaining bodies are genuinely independent of their employer.

Mr Cody said “Trade unions have sought the introduction collective bargaining rights for over a century. As the economic recovery continues and more people return to employment, it’s important that the right to collective bargaining is in place, and that employees who seek improvements in pay and conditions cannot be victimised for doing so.”