The Government has announced proposals for new legislation reforming the industrial relations framework.

The draft bill has not yet been published. However Minister Bruton has confirmed that the bill will include a definition of “collective bargaining”. The definition will focus on negotiations between the employer and a trade union or body of workers which have the object of reaching agreement regarding working conditions or terms of employment.  The bill will also include provisions to help the Labour Court identify if internal bargaining bodies are genuinely independent of their employers.

For employers who do not engage in collective bargaining, it is expected that the bill will set out the criteria to which the Labour Court must have regard when issuing binding recommendations regarding workers’ terms and conditions. These will include the sustainability of the employer’s business in the long term.