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REAs probably protected by Industrial Relations Act 2012

Date Released: 10 May 2013

The constitutional status of the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) structure, which legally protects the pay rates and conditions of employment of tens of thousands of workers throughout Ireland, is probably protected by legislation passed by the Government last year, according to SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor.

This is despite a Supreme Court judgement, delivered today (Thursday, 9th May), declaring REAs constituted under the Industrial Relations Act 1946 as unconstitutional.

In an initial reaction to the Supreme Court judgement, Jack O’Connor, said: “On an initial reading it does appear that the actual case that was the subject of the judgement has been overtaken by events.

“The Industrial Relations Act (Amendment) 2012, which the Labour Party in Government succeeded in getting passed by the Oireachtas, does appear to address the issues that have been highlighted in today’s judgement. Whereas the provisions of the 1946 Act have been declared as unconstitutional, the judgement does appear to allow that the amendments contained in the 2012 Act address these issues and so renders the new REA structure as being constitutionally compliant.”

Jack O’Connor added: “Only last year the Oireachtas legislated to preserve the infrastructure of the REAs and what is clear is that this Supreme Court judgement does not strike down the 2012 Act. It also appears from the wording of the judgement that the Supreme Court is allowing, without scrutinising the issues because they were not before them, that the 2012 Act is constitutionally compliant.”


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