Employers who refuse to cooperate with unions could face penalties under new proposals.
The government is expected to approve a report by the high-level collective bargaining group set up by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar last year.
It is understood that she is recommending a new “good faith” proposal, which means non-union employers must cooperate with unions even if they don’t recognize them when it comes to collective bargaining.
Under the proposals, unions can speak on behalf of workers if they represent at least 10 per cent of them in a single grade or category in a job.
If the employer refuses to get involved and ignores a labor court decision to that effect, a union can apply for a court writ against the employer.
Sources said the penalties are not specified in the report but will be in legislation when it is finalized. They could include fines.
The recommendations are seen as a game-changer for industrial relations in workplaces across the country.
This may impact employers like Amazon, which is opening its first fulfillment center in Dublin. A company spokesman said in August he didn’t think unions were “the best answer for our employees.”
Mr Varadkar set up the high-level group at the Labor Employer Economic Forum last year to review collective bargaining and the industrial relations landscape.
It will be chaired by Professor Michael Doherty of Maynooth University and will include Maeve McElwee of Ibec and Patricia King, Secretary General of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
The recommendations are intended to form the basis for legislative changes.
This is followed by the implementation of an EU directive on adequate minimum wages.
The wording of the EU draft directive stipulates that member states in which collective bargaining coverage is less than 70 percent must take measures to promote it. This includes the development of an action plan to promote collective bargaining.
About a third of Irish workers are covered by collective bargaining.
Sources said another recommendation from the group relates to the reform of a sectoral bargaining mechanism known as Joint Labor Committees. The committees set statutory minimum wages and conditions for workers by agreement.
Union sources said thousands of workers would benefit from better wages and working conditions after the recommendations were implemented.
They said employers must work with unions and the measures would strengthen and broaden collective bargaining coverage in many sectors.
Sources said it would align the country’s industrial relations practices with those of other EU nations.
https://www.independent.ie/news/employers-may-face-penalties-including-fines-for-refusing-talks-with-unions-42037390.html Employers can face penalties, including fines, for refusing to talk to unions