JLC Judgment an opportunity for careful assessment of wage-setting mechanisms

“Today’s High Court judgment dealing with the JLC system of pay determination has identified a significant flaw in the 1946 and 1990 Acts” according to Labour TD Alex White.

“Mr Justice Feeney concluded that the legislation provided no guidance to the Labour Court or to the Joint Labour Committees as to how they should go about fixing rates of pay. This judgment follows a line of authority from the Courts that basic principles and policies should be set out in legislation by the Oireachtas, rather than being determined by the implementing bodies themselves.

“This flaw can be rectified, and that is in part what the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill of 2009 set out to achieve. That Bill, which Labour supported, had not been enacted by the time the last Dail was dissolved. Urgent consideration should now be given to reviving it.

“I believe that far from constituting a fatal blow, today’s judgment presents an opportunity for a careful and sensible assessment of the wage-setting mechanisms in low-pay sectors. We need to ensure that the fullest protection is afforded to low-paid workers, whilst also ensuring that the Labour Court and the JLCs operate on a sound legal and constitutional footing into the future”.