Date Released: 18 August 2015
SIPTU is to nominate members to sit on the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) for the agricultural sector following the re-establishment of the body by the Labour Court.
SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Gerry McCormack, said: “Legislation for the creation of this JLC has now passed all the necessary stages in the Oireachtas and is now being implemented by the Labour Court. The SIPTU Manufacturing Division has been contacted to nominate members to sit on the JLC to represent the interests of workers in the agricultural sector. The various employers organisations active in the sector will also be contacted by the Labour Court to nominate representatives to sit on the JLC.
"The establishment of this JLC is a positive development with regard to the protection and enhancement of the pay and conditions of low paid workers in the agricultural sector. This is a sector that is infamous for the blatant disregard of workers' rights and in particular the exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers.”
He added: “The JLC is a structure that allows representatives of workers and employers to agree on a legally binding Employment Regulation Order (ERO) to regulate pay and conditions of employment within specific industries where low pay and poor conditions of employment often exist.
“The original JLC system was struck down by the High Court in July 2011. However, as part of the commitment to protect the rights of low paid workers contained in the Programme for Government, new legislation recently introduced has re-established the JLC structure.
“The SIPTU objective will be to have the JLC agree terms and conditions for new EROs as soon as possible. The union will be seeking commitments from employers that the target rate of pay in the sector should reflect the Living Wage currently set at €11.50 per hour.”
It is estimated that up to 20,000 workers in the agricultural sector will have their terms and conditions of employment regulated by EROs agreed at the new JLC.