Business groups have welcomed proposals to reform the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) wage-setting mechanisms.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton TD, has started a process of consultation with business and employers' groups over his proposals to reform JLC agreements for sectors including retail, hospitality and catering.
““The reforms being proposed by the Minister are the right ones for job retention and creation,” said David Fitzsimons, Chief Executive, Retail Excellence Ireland, who claimed that up to that 7,000 new jobs could be created in the retail industry if significant JLC reforms are fully implemented.
"The Minister himself acknowledges that many Irish businesses are unable to compete with businesses in countries like the UK as comparable wages are up to 30% lower than those in Ireland,” he added.
“Similarly, rates of pay in many of the areas covered by the JLCs have increased much faster than the national minimum wage, which is clearly unsustainable.
“Reform of the (JLC) wage-setting structures is a crucial part of the reform package being progressed by the new Government to assist Irish businesses and boost employment.”
Meanwhile Chambers Ireland said that reports on proposals to change workers’ legal entitlement to special Sunday premium payments as part of the JLC reforms “is a step in the right direction..
“This is a positive development particularly in the services sectors which has struggled to remain competitive and retain jobs during the economic downturn,” said Chambers Ireland spokesman John Forde.
“The proposals to reduce by half the number of Joint Labour Committees as well as the commitment to a comprehensive review of all those remaining in place are also welcomed.”