Minister of State at the Department of Jobs and Enterprise, Ged Nash, told Mandate yesterday that the Office of the Attorney General is drafting the bill, which would “provide a strong and effective remedy where employers refuse to negotiate by way of collective bargaining”. He said he hopes to see it enacted by the middle of the year.
Mandate welcomed the news in the wake of Thursday’s industrial action by 6,000 Dunnes Stores workers at some 100 stores. It will give hope to those workers and the hundreds of thousands of others in similar circumstances across the country, the union said.
Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light said Mr Nash’s commitment would see stronger powers for the Labour Court whereby it could issue determinations enforceable through the circuit court.
“It’s important that this power would specifically be applied where employers such as Dunnes Stores refuse to engage in collective bargaining with workers through their unions,” Mr Light said.
“There is also a commitment to protect workers from victimisation for claims lodged by their unions.”
Members of Mandate’s 11 divisions are due to meet next week to discuss possible further industrial action against Dunnes Stores.
Meanwhile, the Ryanair Pilot Group, which represents most of the pilots in an airline where more than 60% of pilots are engaged on zero-hours contracts, has backed Dunnes Stores workers over the strike.
“The use of zero-hour contracts is an affront to every worker’s right to earn a living wage and not to be exploited by an employer in a fundamentally unequal employment relationship,” said group chairman Evert van Zwol.