Nash introduces Sectoral Employment Order Confirmation Bil
8 July 2020
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
Labour T.D for Louth & East Meath, Ged Nash introduced a Bill to the Dáil which if enacted, would see the terms of the three Sectoral Employment Orders which were struck down by the High Court two weeks ago – electrical, construction and mechanical engineering – given the full force of law through a short Act of the Oireachtas.
Nash introduced the Bill, the first piece of private members business of the 33rd Dáil, following the recent High Court judgment that struck down the sectoral employment order system for the electrical contracting sector and the statutory framework for other such orders.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Nash said:
“The judgment has had a chilling effect on the conduct of industrial relations in this country. It is a far-reaching judgment and there may be consequences outside the immediate subject area of the actual legislation which was examined by the court.
“The Industrial Relations (Sectoral Employment Orders Confirmation) Bill 2020 seeks immediately to remedy a defect identified by the court by giving statutory effect to the recommendations of three purported sectoral employment orders covering tens of thousands of electricians and construction workers across all kinds of grades and categories.
“The terms of these three orders that were struck down by the High Court can, under the proposed legislation, be converted into primary law with the blessing of both Houses of the Oireachtas to address some of these significant defects identified by the High Court.
Deputy Nash continued:
“The Programme for Government is virtually silent on the whole question of workers' rights and their advancement. Since its foundation, the State has expressed it to be desirable that there should be space to allow unions and employers to engage in sectorally applicable and enforceable agreements across entire economic sectors in order to support the principle of decent work, avoid a damaging race to the bottom and promote a level playing pitch for good, compliant businesses.
“This Bill continues in that tradition. Its ambitions have the support of the trade union movement. It is urgent for tens of thousands of workers across the construction sector and related disciplines and for our economy. I am hopeful the Government will see fit to support this legislation when it is tabled for Second Stage debate shortly.”