The primary role of our Industrial Relations Section is to foster a good industrial relations environment via an appropriate legislative framework. Areas of responsibility include industrial relations legislation, trade union matters, monitoring of industrial disputes, and legislation relating to employee involvement in the workplace (information and consultation/participation).
The system of industrial relations in Ireland is essentially voluntary in nature. There has been agreement on all sides that the terms and conditions of employment of workers is best determined by the process of voluntary collective bargaining between an employer or employers' association and one or more trade unions, without the intervention of the State. Under this process standard matters like wages or hours of work are determined and, in addition, some collective agreements lay down procedural rules which govern the conduct of industrial relations between the parties.
Over the years, however, legislation has been enacted in certain areas (such as minimum rates of pay, holidays, working hours, minimum notice, redundancy, dismissals and employment equality) laying down certain minimum standards which may be improved upon by collective bargaining but cannot be taken away or diminished.
The State's role in industrial relations in Ireland has been largely confined to facilitating the collective bargaining process through establishing by legislation, institutions (Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court) to assist in the resolution of disputes between employers and workers.
The Industrial Relations Section deals with the processing of Grants for Trade Union Merger/Transfer of Engagements and granting Trade Union Negotiation Licences.
The Industrial Relations Section is responsible for certain employee involvement legislation.