News & Media

Major win for workers under Labour’s 2015 collective bargaining act

7 June 2016

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

First case under Industrial Relations Act yields positive results for food processing workers 

Labour Senator Ged Nash has welcomed a binding Labour Court recommendation issued last Friday (3rd June) which has provided for significant pay increases and the introduction of a sick pay scheme for workers at Freshways Food Company in Dublin.

Senator Nash Commented:  “This is the first such case to be taken under the new Collective Bargaining laws (Industrial Relations Act, 2015) which Labour introduced last year. This case – which was taken by SIPTU – has very clearly demonstrated how valuable and important this new legislation is to working people in cases where it is the practice of the employer not to engage in collective bargaining.

“This case was taken by SIPTU against an employer who did not engage voluntarily in a local bargaining process. While it was the union’s stated preference to see the employer engage voluntarily, the Industrial Relations Act of 2015 provides remedies where this is not the case.

“Under these circumstances, the trade union took the case on behalf of general operatives at the company to have their pay and terms and conditions assessed by the Labour Court.

“As a result of SIPTU’s case and the Court’s binding recommendation under the Act, these low paid workers at the sandwich making and food processing company will see their wages increase significantly over the next 18 months. Most of the workers, the majority of whom are on rates of pay slightly above the Minimum Wage, will see pay increases of around €2.10 per hour over three phases. They will also now enjoy the benefits of a sick pay scheme and an additional day of annual leave.

“Given the provisions of the legislation, this new deal is likely to represent the benchmark in the food processing sector.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Our new collective bargaining legislation has shown how the institutional and legislative change Labour brought about in government is putting bread on the table for working people.

“While others make noise, Labour has made and will continue to make a difference.”