Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Prendergast: asked the Minister for Labour if he is satisfied with the present state of worker participation in this country; the proposals, if any, he has to introduce legislation for its extension in the public and private sectors; the  efforts of his Department in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Labour (Mr. Quinn): I am conscious that there is still a lot of work to do in extending suitable forms of worker participation to organisations throughout the country. For this reason I recently set up an advisory committee on worker participation with the following terms of reference: advise the Minister for Labour on the scope for the development of employee participation at sub-board level in different types of work organisation; promote interest in practical experimentation in workplace participation; identify research need and make recommendations.
The committee is composed of people nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Federated Union of Employers, a number of other experts and an independent chairman. I have asked them to let me have their recommendations early in 1986. It is my hope that the committee will provide me with practical and workable recommendations on the next steps to be taken in the evolution of worker participation below board level.
I intend to introduce legislation this year to extend the Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Act, 1977, to a further six State enterprises (i.e. Aer Rianta, Board Gais Éireann, An Foras Forbartha, Irish Steel Limited, National Rehabilitation Board and the Voluntary Health Insurance Board) thus bringing to 13 the number of State enterprises which may elect worker directors to fill one third of the positions on their boards. The original seven are: Bord na Móna, CIE, ESB, Aer Lingus, B & I, Siúicre Éireann and Nitrigin Éireann Teoranta. I understand that An Post and An Bord Telecom also intend to elect worker directors to their board later this year under their establishing legislation.
In addition, my proposed extension of the Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Act, 1977, will enable a majority of employees in a State enterprise to request the establishment of appropriate  sub-board participative structures at relevant levels within the enterprise. I would hope that the proposed new initiatives in the public sector will act as further models which private sector organisations can adapt to their own particular circumstances.
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