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Construction engineering, Industrial relations, Law
On the 9th May 2013 the Supreme Court in McGowan and Ors v The Labour Court and Ors found Registered Employment Agreements to be incompatible with the Constitution. Registered Employment Agreements (REA) are provided for in Part III of the Industrial Relations Act 1946. Collective bargaining has traditionally been the method for employees and employers to negotiate terms of employment within the construction industry. These agreements would then be registered with the Labour Court and they would have legal effect. Registered Employment Agreements are particularly suited to the construction industry due to the labour intensive nature of the industry and the fact that labour costs make up such a large proportion of the overall costs within a construction project.
Since the McGowan decision finding the agreements unconstitutional, there has been a lack of clarity regarding how this affects all the interested parties. The National Electrical Contractors of Ireland (NECI) has welcomed the ruling and believes that it will allow contractors to be more competitive in their tendering process, while the Technical, Electrical & Engineering Union (TEEU), the trade union representing employees, is of the opinion that it will allow overseas contractors to come in and undercut Irish contractors who are bound by contracts of employment. It is, however, unclear how each of these parties will be affected and the real implications for the Construction sector. This research intends to investigate the consequences and effects of the ruling and in doing so examine the implications for collective bargaining within the Construction Industry.
Hayden, R. (2014). Industrial Relations and the Construction Sector: the Implications of McGowan and Ors v The Labour Court. Masters Dissertation. Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology.