More Information

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Topics

Purpose
Terms
Strikes
Picketing
Labour Relations Commission (LRC)
Rights Commissioner
Labour Court

Purpose

This act aims to promote improved industrial relations by outlining procedures for conducting and settling industrial disputes.
The main points of the act are:

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Terms

Industrial action. Any action taken by a group of employees to compel their employer to change their working conditions or implement the conditions already in place if this is not happening. Note this does not just mean going on strike, it can also be a work to rule, where the workers only do what is in their contract.

Strike. A complete cessation of work by a group of employees done as a means of compelling their employer, to listen to their demands to change their working conditions.

Trade dispute. Any dispute between employers and employees in connection with their employment or non-employment, or the terms and conditions affecting the employees. Examples of legitimate trade disputes are disputes over rates of pay, shift working, holidays, canteen facilities, recruitment policy,dismissal policy, redundancy policy or trade union recognition in the firm. Examples of illegitimate trade disputes are conflicts over religious or political issues among staff or disputes over managerial decisions of how the company is run, for example the credit policy of the firm.

Employer. A person who pays one or more people to work for him.

Worker or Employee. The person who works for pay or had previously worked for pay. For the purpose of this act this excludes certain members of the public service including the Garda Síochána.

Immunity. This means the workers will not be sued for the lack of production during a strike, neither will they be sued for damage caused by their absence.

Trade union. This is an organisation that workers can join to help them look after their rights and speak with a collective voice. All trade unions must be registered with the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and fulfill the requirements set by this minister before they can act as a trade union.

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Strikes

In order to prevent employees being sued for losses or damages caused by a strike or industrial action, the act stipulates that the following procedures are followed:

It these procedures are followed before the strike starts, the strike is called an Official Strike and the employees have immunity against being sued for damage done by the strike or losses caused by it. A strike that does not follow all these procedures is called an Unofficial Strike and employees have no immunity.

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Picketing

According to this act it is the right of the employees to conduct a peaceful picket at their employer's business premises. This is called Primary Picketing. The employees can be joined by a trade union official, that is someone paid by the union or any officer elected by the union.They can peacefully persuade other workers or customers not to enter their employee's premises, but cannot prevent them.

If the striking workers see that work that would normally be carried out at their premises is being carried out elsewhere, thus reducing the impact of the strike, they can picket those premises. This is called Secondary Picketing. An example of this is, if the staff at Dublin airport were on strike and in order to reduce the impact of the strike, the airlines started to divert the passengers to Cork airport, the union could then place a secondary picket on Cork airport.

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Labour Relations Commission (LRC)

The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) established by this act should be the first port of call to settle any trade dispute. Its functions include the following:

Click here to see the Labour Relations Commission's website.

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Rights Commissioner

Appointed by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment from nominations made by the Labour Relations Commission, the Rights Commissioners aims to investigate and offer quick solutions to settle disputes, grievances and claims made by individuals or small groups of workers under different legislation, including this act , the Unfair Dismissals Act 1993, Adoptive Leave Act, 1995, Maternity Protection Act, 1994 and National Minimum Wage Act, 2000. Disputes involving large numbers of workers will not be heard by a Rights Commissioner. Hearings before a Rights Commissioner are normally heard in private. Appeals of decisions made by the Rights Commissioner under the Unfair Dismissals Act are then brought to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and those brought under other legislation are brought to the Labour Court.

Click here to view the Rights Commission's Website.

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Labour Court

The following are the main functions of the Labour Court:

Click here to view the Labour Court's Website.

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