News Update on Industrial Relations Amendments Bill

In May and June, a number of briefings were hosted by Deputy Brid Smith (PbP) on the amendments.  In advance of the Dáil debate on them on June 30th, a Webinar took place on June 28th which had 66 participants and a Panel of 5 who gave short presentations. This event was hosted by Sue Shaw of the Senior Citizens’ Parliament. Questions were taken afterwards and it lasted about an hour.

On Tuesday June 29th a Rally was held at Leinster House at Noon.  This was , by design, a small but representative group from the various strands of support for the Amendments Bill.  Banners and placards were provided through Deputy Smith’s office.  Among the groups represented were representatives from the Alliance, Senior Citizens Parliament, the NFRA, ESBRA, BNMR, RTERSA, and members of the ICTU RWC.  The Rally was addressed by Deputy Smith, Deputy Boyd-Barrett, Deputy Mick Barry, the SCP Vice Pres, Gerry Foley Alliance Chair, and some others.

The importance of a final lobbying push was stressed to apply maximum pressure on Government Parties’ TDs prior to the vote on Wednesday evening.  The failure of ICTU to voice support for the Bill was noted by several speakers both at the Rally and at the Webinar on the Monday.

Later Tuesday June 29th, it emerged that the Government had put forward an amendment to the Bill.  This would have the effect of delaying the Bill’s passage to Stage 2 for twelve months - to allow for consultation with the parties involved (unions and employers – it said).  In attempts to get this amendment withdrawn, Party leaders and the proposed were emailed and Deputy Smith also wrote to them.  Our efforts were not successful, and the vote on the Governments amendment was carried by 73 to 62 on Wednesday night (11.20 pm)

Several positives have come out of this: The Government did not vote down the Bill; The proposer – Deputy Damien English – said Pensioners would be included in the consultation process; all the opposition TDs and groups voted against the Government’s amendment (to defer).

Martin Hoye RMATUI Chairperson/ Alliance Joint Secretary

July 4th 2021