Dublin, Ireland, 20 July Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Pat Breen TD, Minister with responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection today announced the publication of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2018. This follows Government approval for publication of the Bill at Cabinet last week.
Minister Humphreys said that the Bill, when enacted, will deliver on a commitment given by Government in 2016 to provide the Garda representative associations with access to the State industrial relations institutions – the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Labour Court.
The Minister referred to Ireland’s robust framework for the resolution of industrial disputes and said: “This legislation is important as it will allow members of An Garda Síochána to avail of the services of the WRC including mediation, conciliation and arbitration. It will also allow matters relating to industrial relations disputes to be brought before the Labour Court”.
The Minister welcomed the Government’s decision to publish this Bill, which is on the Government’s priority legislative programme for the spring/summer 2018 parliamentary session.
Highlighting that the services of the WRC and the Labour Court have served workers well over many decades, the Minister continued: “I am pleased that these valuable services will now be available to members of An Garda Síochána”.
In line with the Government commitment to move quickly on this issue, the Minister said that she hoped to introduce the Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas in early autumn 2018.
Minister Humphreys emphasised that there is ongoing work with An Garda Síochána to develop robust internal dispute settlement procedures to assist in the resolution of disputes before the need for referral to the WRC or the Labour Court arises. In this context, she said: “This legislation will be commenced once these internal procedures are in place within An Garda Síochána.”
Minister Breen noted “the importance of ensuring industrial harmony within the ranks of An Garda Síochána in order to provide certainty in terms of ensuring the safety and security of the State and its citizens”. Minister Breen acknowledged the good work that had gone into bringing the Bill forward and the ongoing work with Garda management and Garda associations in relation to putting in place internal dispute settlement procedures.
In conclusion, both Ministers acknowledged their thanks for the work completed so far by the members of the Working Group on Industrial Relations Structures for An Garda Síochána, which is chaired by John Murphy.