Mitchell, Jim

Wednesday, 2 May 1990

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 398 No. 2

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Industrial Relations Bill, 1989: Committee State.

I move amendment No. 1: In page 6, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following subsection: “(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any offence committed before the passing of this ...More Button

I note what the Minister has said and I should like to ask the Chair to put the amendment. Amendment put and declared lost. Sections 5 to 7, inclusive, agreed to. SECTION 8.More Button

While I agree with the sentiments expressed by Deputy Rabbitte I wonder if his amendment will have the effect he wishes. While the definition seems to be badly drafted there is a danger that if we ac...More Button

I am not sure that what the Minister has included in the Bill is clear enough. I acknowledge that there are some difficulties in accepting what Deputy Rabbitte has proposed but I have no doubt that t...More Button

I concur with what Deputy Quinn has said. This definition is deficient and needs to be amended. Not alone is it deficient in the way Deputy Quinn has said but the phrase “having previously worked fo...More Button

Is the Minister satisfied that this definition covers the situation where a change of ownership takes place?More Button

Does the Minister not agree that the phrase “worked for that person” could be open to adverse construction in many respects and needs to be clarified?More Button

I do not want to repeat myself ad nauseam, but would the Minister not agree that the term “worked for that person” could be open to two directly opposite constructions? On the one hand a dispute with...More Button

Perhaps I might seek clarification on that point. I am absolutely ad idem with Deputy Rabbitte on his objective but it might have unintended consequences. Would he agree? Take the case of somebody ...More Button

I move amendment No. 5: In page 7, line 4, in the definition of “trade dispute”, before “connected” to insert “directly”. There are many areas in this Bill where there is what I consider to be loose d...More Button

The discussion on this definition of “trade dispute” has been greatly expanded beyond the amendments in my name. The points being made by Deputies Quinn and Rabbitte on worker versus worker disputes...More Button

I move amendment No. 7: In page 7, between lines 7 and 8, to insert the following definition: “ `trade union official' means a person in the employment of a trade union or a person authorised in writi...More Button

While we take the Minister's word the problem about receiving his amendment so late is that we did not have time to consider the implications. I support what Deputy Quinn has said, that it would be m...More Button

——it could be construed later that the Oireachtas intended this definition only to apply to section 11 and not to the Acts so amended by this Act. I would accept the Minister's form of words or those...More Button

I am puzzled by the Minister. Section 11 deals with picketing. Picketing has to do with strikes, industrial action and workers. In the definitions section, section 8, we are dealing with “trade disp...More Button

Would the Minister agree to put it in?More Button

Section 2 (2) provides: “Part II of this Act and the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1982, may be cited together as the Trade Union Acts 1871 to 1989, and shall be construed together as one Act.” Because of...More Button

I am surprised at the lack of openness about this.More Button

Is there a reference anywhere?More Button

That is extraordinary.More Button

I accept the Minister's commitment to consider this matter between now and Report Stage. I note that he did not say he will definitely bring forward an amendment but it is my hope he will take on boa...More Button

I do not have any difficulty in accepting the amendment in the names of the Minister, Deputies O'Sullivan and Rabbitte. All sides of the House recognise that there is a problem in that many employer...More Button

I am concerned about every single part of this definition section. We are rushing the Bill through the House and we may be creating problems instead of closing loopholes, which is the intention of the...More Button

What is the intention of the Bill? It is intended to bring further democracy to the workplace and to ensure that workers' rights cannot be usurped by small unrepresentative minorities. A situation co...More Button

For every very complicated problem there is a simple solution which is always wrong. I must confess that that is not an original thought; I read it somewhere. The Minister said he is simplifying a c...More Button

In the case of the Bord Gáis dispute the Murphy contractors were brought from England to instal a pipeline. Should such contractors be in a position to cause a dispute which had the effect of disturb...More Button

I move amendment No. 13: In page 7, lines 13 to 19, to delete the definition of “industrial action” and substitute the following: “ `major industrial action' means any action which affects, or is like...More Button

I have been persuaded by what Deputy Rabbitte said and therefore propose to withdraw my amendment and support his. In my view, this makes sense, and I hope the Minister will do likewise.More Button

I will withdraw my amendment at the appropriate time.More Button

That is correct, but an alternative could be put.More Button

I said I am prepared to withdraw the amendment but I would first like to hear from the Minister.More Button

No. What I have intimated is that I will be prepared to withdraw my amendment but I would like to hear the views of the House first.More Button

Industrial Relations Bill, 1989: Committee Stage (Resumed).

The amendment before us has enabled us to discuss what I consider to be an important aspect of this Bill. It gets very much to the core of the Bill because section 14 is really at the core of the Bil...More Button

Do I take it that if the amendment promised by the Minister for Report Stage in relation to this point does not prove acceptable to this side of the House we are not precluded from tabling other amend...More Button

I am prepared to accept the assurance given by the Minister if I can reserve the option myself to table amendments dealing with this on Report Stage.More Button

The deletion of this paragraph as proposed by Deputy Rabbitte's amendment would undermine greatly one of the central purposes of the Bill which is to take any immunities away from wildcat pickets. I ...More Button

I want to refer to a non-verbal reply across the House to a point raised by Deputy Quinn. I think there was a nodded response by the Minister, which indicates a worrying reply. If a trade union go t...More Button

If the strike relates to one person will it be possible for the union to put on a picket, having gone through the procedures following a vote or secret ballot?More Button

We are dealing exclusively with this amendment even though we are taking a number of amendments together. Section 9 (1) reiterates the provisions of the Trade Union Act, 1941 — the exemptions and imm...More Button

That may be so but we should not be providing in law any immunity for an employer who does not recognise a trade union. If he does not recognise a trade union that is his business but in the case of ...More Button

Does the Minister intend accepting amendments Nos. 17 and 18?More Button

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 deal with exhausting the procedures. If the Minister will read section 9 (4) it says: “The procedures referred to in subsection (2) may include ...”.More Button

Subsection (4) continues: resort to such persons or bodies as a rights commissioner, the Labour Relations Commission, the Labour Court, an equality officer and the Employment Appeals Tribunal. For ins...More Button

I move amendment No. 17: In page 7, subsection (4), line 42, after “Tribunal” to insert “but shall not be deemed to include an appeal to any Court of Law”.More Button

Is the Minister accepting the amendment?More Button

I move amendment No. 21: In page 8, subsection (1), lines 6 and 7, to delete “, or where that is not practicable, at the approaches to,”. The purpose of this group of amendments is to clarify beyond r...More Button

I wonder. I understand the legal position at the moment is that there is no exemption, no legal cover for picketing on private property. Is that right?More Button

Industrial estates, shopping centres, ports and airports, even though they may be under public authorities, are private property and picketing cannot take place within the boundaries of that private p...More Button

One of the difficulties is that to “attend at a place” is not defined anywhere. Will the Minister clarify what to attend at a place means?More Button

Will the Minister accept that that is a very loose definition?More Button

I should like to take the case of multi-employment. If we are concerned about Guinness, for example, the position is clear because it involves a one-employer place but if we are talking about Clonsha...More Button

The Minister has told me that there is not a right to picket on private property.More Button

We have established that it is not a right and it is open to a union to interpret this phrase and picket at the entrance to an estate, as happened on many occasions. We must not assume that all owner...More Button

The vast majority of disputes do not need this legislation. The Minister is missing the whole point of the Bill. This legislation is needed for a minority of cases where good procedures are not foll...More Button

Deputy Quinn asked the Minister a question about the last strike at Dublin Port. When he asked what the employers would do if the strike occurred under this legislation the Minister replied that an i...More Button

Deputy Quinn may have greater experience of these matters and perhaps he will elaborate on them later for my benefit. Does the Minister not agree we should be trying to avoid the use of injunctions o...More Button

Or a trade union official.More Button

Private Members' Business. - Protection of Part-Time Workers (Employment) (No. 2) Bill, 1989: Second Stage (Resumed).

The Minister should support this Bill. Question put. The Dáil divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 72. TáMore Button

Private Members' Business. - Industrial Relations Bill, 1989: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Before Private Members' time I had asked the Minister for Labour whether there was a definition of the phrase “to attend at that place” and he informed us there was no such definition. In the absence...More Button

I am not surprised by what Deputy Bell and Deputy Rabbitte have said. I think they misunderstand the purpose of the Bill. They have said that the intention behind this amendment to use Deputy Rabbit...More Button

It will, if it remains unamended. Amendments have been tabled which could change that. For whom are we trying to legislate here? We are trying to legislate for the non-Congress union but we are miss...More Button

And it all happened in Deputy Ahern's constituency.More Button

I am sorry to leave you out of this, a Cheann Comhairle. Both Deputies Bell and Rabbitte have an acknowledged first-hand experience and expertise in this area but I would ask them to at least reflect...More Button

They would not want it, but so long as there are unions of a significant size about who do not want to belong to Congress and so long as there is the possibility of breakaways in the future we will ha...More Button

In some cases that may not happen but in other cases it will and it did in the port of Dublin.More Button

It nearly closed down the B & I and it cost a few million pounds for one week's stoppage and diverted business to Larne in the process. It has happened on a number of occasions in Dublin Port over th...More Button

It might be said that extreme cases make bad law but in my view it is one of the loopholes we should be trying to rectify now that there is a pause in industrial strife. We should take advantage of t...More Button

Yes. Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”. The Committee divided: Tá 70; Níl, 42. TáMore Button

I move amendment No. 22: In page 8, subsection (1), line 8, after “business” to insert “or, at the commencement of the dispute, had normally worked or had normally carried on business”. Either amendem...More Button

Can the Minister elaborate on what he said earlier? What about the employer who moves business and seeks to dispose of the property, where the new owners then seek to injunct a picket at that employm...More Button

Is that correct? A firm could close down in one place, move elsewhere, sell that property and leave the picketers high and dry. That is precisely the situation I envisage arising and it is one which...More Button

No. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

You are.More Button

The Minister was right to resist the somewhat hysterical demands of some employers for an all out ban on picketing. He was also right to resist the amendments proposed by Deputy Bell and Deputy Rabbi...More Button

Significant disruption.More Button

The point made by Deputy Bell about this flight out of business into subcontracting and so on — something we discussed and tried to provide for earlier in the day — is something about which all sides ...More Button

If I may interrupt the Deputy, I had an earlier amendment which said: “or who had been the employer at the commencement”. Therefore, if there was a change or takeover I specifically raised that point ...More Button


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