Previously some employments were covered by agreements made by Joint Labour Committees. On 7 July 2011 the High Court ruled that the legislation delegating powers concerning pay and conditions to Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) was unconstitutional. Following the High Court decision Employment Regulation Orders ceased to have statutory effect from 7 July 2011.
Employees who were covered by an ERO have existing contracts of employment which govern their pay and conditions of work. If an employer reduces an employee’s rate of pay this would be a change in their contract of employment and normally it requires the employee’s consent. Until new EROs are made (see ‘Reform of JLC system' below) the pay and conditions of employees who start work after 7 July 2011 is governed by employment legislation such as the minimum wage.
The purpose of Joint Labour Committees is to regulate conditions of employment and set minimum rates of pay for employees in certain sectors of employment. A Joint Labour Committee (JLC) is established by a statutory order of the Labour Court under the Industrial Relations Act 1946. It is an independent body made up of equal numbers of employer and worker representatives appointed by the Labour Court, with a chair appointed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Any of the following can apply to the Labour Court to set up a JLC:
The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a system of registered employment agreements and sectoral employment orders. New EROs for the contract cleaning and security industries came into effect on 1 October 2015 and include improved rates of pay for workers in these sectors.
The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012 reforming the Joint Labour Committees and Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) wage-setting mechanisms came into force on 1 August 2012.
The Act's provisions include:
In January 2014 a number of Statutory Instruments gave effect to the recommendations in the review of the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) system reducing the overall number of JLCs and amending the scope of other JLCs. The JLCs for Dublin hotels and law clerks have been abolished. The establishment orders for contract cleaning, hairdressing, security and hotels outside Dublin and Cork have been amended. It is not intended to change the scope of the JLCs for catering and retail, grocery and allied trades. The JLCs have not yet agreed Employment Regulation Orders.
Agreements on pay and conditions are known as Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) or Registered Employment Agreements (REAs). EROs were made by Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) and REAs were Collective Agreements made between trade unions and employers which were registered with the Labour Courts. Following a decision of the Supreme Court, all Registered Employment Agreements ceased to have statutory effect from 9 May 2013. The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 (pdf) provides for a system of registered employment agreements and sectoral employment orders.
There were REAs for the following sectors: Drapery,
footwear and allied trades (Dublin and Dun Laoghaire); Construction
power line contractors.
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