Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD, has formally accepted the recommendation of the Labour Court for the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee for the English language education sector. He made the announcement today together with Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.
Giving effect to this recommendation, Minister Breen has signed an establishment order that shall come into effect on 2 December 2019.
Minister Breen said: “I welcome the recommendation of the Labour Court and I am happy to announce the establishment of this new Joint Labour Committee. The JLC provides an opportunity to address many of the employment related issues that have damaged the reputation of this sector in recent years and to place the industry on a stronger footing for the years ahead.”
JLCs provide a wage-setting mechanism that determines terms and conditions of employment, as well as setting minimum rates of pay for workers in certain sectors. In the sectors represented, the terms and conditions may be given effect in law by means of Employment Regulation Orders made by the Minister.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “I would like to thank Minister Breen and the Labour Court for their efforts on this issue. I am extremely supportive of the establishment of a JLC to address all aspects of the working conditions and pay of employees in English language schools with a view to the issuing of an Employment Regulation Order for the sector.
“The relationship between strengthening employment standards for teachers and staff working in this sector and enhancing Ireland’s considerable reputation as a quality learning destination for international students was strongly highlighted in the debates – in both the Seanad and the Dáil – on the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2019 which I successfully brought through the Oireachtas prior to the summer recess.
“I would encourage bodies representing both employers and employees in this sector to engage with the JLC process. This can guarantee Ireland as a premier destination for English language education.”
Notes for Editors
What are JLCs?
A Joint Labour Committee (JLC) is composed of equal numbers of representatives of employers and workers in an employment sector.
The Committee meets under an independent chairman, an Industrial Relations Officer of the Workplace Relations Commission, appointed by the Minister, to discuss and agree proposals for terms and conditions to apply to specified grades or categories of workers in the sector concerned.
Section 41A of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 as amended by the 2012 Industrial Relations Act provides for a 5-yearly review by the Labour Court of Joint Labour Committees.
The first review was completed by the Labour Court in April 2013 and resulted in the number of JLCs reducing from 10 to 8. The JLCs that were discontinued at that time covered Law Clerks and Hotels in Dublin.
The second review was commenced by the Labour Court in March 2018 with an invitation for submissions from interested parties in relation to the 8 JLCs in place as to whether they should be retained, abolished or amalgamated with another JLC.
There are 3 JLCs currently active; in the Contract Cleaning, Hairdressing and Security sectors. While the Hairdressing JLC has not yet agreed proposals for an ERO, both the Contract Cleaning and Security JLCs have agreed proposals which were made into Employment Regulation Orders for those sectors.