REA law ‘unconstitutional’ says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional a law providing for registered employment agreements which sets rates of pay in certain sectors, reports the Irish Examiner.

The appeal was brought to court by electrical contractors who say today’s decision will allow them to control their own cost-base and secure existing jobs.

The court found a section of the Industrial Relations Act of 1946 unconstitutional because it allowed trade unions and employers to make employment law.

The Constitution provides that laws can only be made by the Oireachtas.

Dave Butler of the National Electrical Contractors of Ireland says smaller employers will have more say in any future employment agreements: “We have no problems with REAs per se but the problem with this was only a small section of employers were allowed input and the rest were left outside the door.

“It has to be an all-inclusive REA and has to represent the views of everybody, the big and small employers.” Source: The Irish Examiner.

In a statement issued this afternoon the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation states: The Government has just received this judgment, and we intend to study it and take legal advice on it before commenting in detail.

The judgment has the effect of striking down Registered Employment Agreements put in place under the 1946 Industrial Relations Act. Agreements which set pay and conditions for workers in five sectors including electrical contracting and construction are affected by today’s judgment.

Existing contractual rights of workers in sectors covered by Registered Employment Agreement are unaffected by today’s ruling. Contractual rights can be altered only by agreement between the parties involved.