Parliamentary Question: Employment Rights

Question to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Mr. Richard Bruton, TD)

To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the policy of his Department relating to the release of notifications of proposed redundancies under section 12(1) of the Protection of Employment Act 1977, as amended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will consider amending section 12(3) of the Protection of Employment Act 1977, as amended, in order that copies of notifications of proposed redundancies will be sent directly to the employees affected, in addition to the employees’ representatives, as is currently provided for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 23, June, 2015.

REPLY

The Protection of Employment Act 1977 implements Council Directive 75/129/EEC on the approximation of the law of Member States relating to collective redundancies.

The purpose of Part II of the Protection of Employment Act 1977 is to facilitate consultation and notification between employers and employees in instances of proposed collective redundancies. It serves a very important purpose in terms of ensuring good industrial relations within a company. It requires an employer who proposes to create collective redundancies to initiate consultations with employees’ representatives in advance of those redundancies “with a view to reaching an agreement”. The Act defines “employees’ representatives” as a trade union, staff association or excepted body with which it has been the practice of the employer to conduct collective bargaining negotiations. In the absence of a trade union, staff association or excepted body, “employees’ representatives” are defined as “a person or persons chosen (under an arrangement put in place by the employer) by such employees from amongst their number to represent them in negotiations with the employer”.

Section 12(1) of the Act imposes an obligation on employers to notify the Minister in writing of any proposals to create collective redundancies at the earliest opportunity, and, in any event, at least 30 days prior to the first dismissal. Subsection (3) of section 12 provides that a copy of that notification must be supplied to the employees’ representatives affected who may forward to the Minister any observations they have relating to the notification. The importance of this provision, which serves a key role in ensuring consultation and notification in instances of proposed collective redundancies, is underlined by the fact that an employer who fails to comply with this provision is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000.

The Act expressly sets out who is entitled to receive a copy of a notification sent to the Minister pursuant to Part II of the Act. It ensures that all parties directly affected by the proposed redundancies are made aware of what is contained in the notification to the Minister, and are given an opportunity to make observations on it, by providing that a copy has to be sent to the employees’ representatives affected (Section 12(3)).

It is in the public interest on a range of fronts that employers engage fully in the consultation and notification process set out in Part II of the 1977 Act as amended. Firstly, such engagement plays an important role in facilitating industrial peace, which is in the interests of the wider community. The purpose of the consultations includes the possibility of avoiding the proposed redundancies, reducing the number of employees affected by them, or by mitigating their consequences by recourse to accompanying social measures (Section 9(2)(a)). Furthermore, they serve to identify the basis on which it will be decided which particular employees will be made redundant (Section 9(2)(b)). Accordingly, I have no plans to amend Section 12 of the 1977 Act.

The policy of my Department in relation to the release of notifications of proposed redundancies under Section 12(1) of the Act is not to release such notifications except in compliance with the law, including Freedom of Information legislation.

Posted under Employment, Jobs Enterprise & Innovation, Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary Question: Energy Policy

Question to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White, TD) 

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in the context of a national energy policy, if consideration was given to energy conservation as an alternative to additional electricity generation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if consideration was given to the effects on employment and tourism when developing energy policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 16, June, 2015.

REPLY

The over-arching objective of Ireland’s energy policy is to deliver secure, competitive and sustainable supplies of energy to all consumers. Energy efficiency has a central role to play in meeting this objective. Improving the efficiency with which we use energy is already delivering real environmental, social and economic benefits for Ireland. This is why energy efficiency will be a key element of the Energy White Paper which I will publish in October. The Energy White Paper will set out the strategy for Ireland’s sustainable energy transition. Achieving this transition requires us to meet the challenge of significantly reducing our harmful emissions while ensuring all of our energy needs are met. While the scale of the effort required to do this cannot be met by energy efficiency alone, energy efficiency has a central role to play as part of a range of measure, which must also include increasing our use of renewable energy. Ultimately, energy efficiency measures, whether in heating, in transport, or in use of electricity, along with continued smart grid development, will deliver the means through which demand can be reduced and made more flexible.

Roll out of smart grid technologies will also allow us to increase the levels of renewable electricity generation with consequent benefits for the sustainability of our electricity generation portfolio. This position is fully aligned with both the EU and the International Energy Agency (IEA), which see energy efficiency as critical to facilitating the integration of greater levels of renewable electricity generation and achieving a cost effective transition to a sustainable energy system.

The overarching objective of the Government’s energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers. A new Energy Policy White Paper, which will set out Ireland’s energy policy up to 2030, will be published in October. A very significant public consultation process has just been concluded, the outputs from which will guide the finalisation of the policy options for inclusion in the White Paper. My officials also conducted bilateral engagements with other government departments on the synergies and challenges presented for other sectors, including employment and tourism, in the development of energy policy. In terms of driving economic opportunity, the energy policy vision to be set out in the White Paper will see industry, government and the research community continuing to play their parts in the creation of the skilled labour force that builds and manages the energy efficient and low carbon energy system. That vision is also of strong, innovative and competitive companies, investing and creating employment, while also developing low carbon and energy efficiency technologies, products and services needed by consumers.

Posted under Employment, Energy, Tourism

Local Enterprise Offices support Cork businesses create 549 extra jobs – Buttimer

Friday, 17th April 2015

The creation of an extra 549 jobs in Cork demonstrates the success of Local Enterprise Offices.

Setting up Local Enterprise Offices was all about helping to create jobs and it is great to see that in Cork this is now delivering real results. In the first year of operation LEOs in Cork have supported the creation of an extra 549 jobs. This is great news for the businesses involved, for the local economy and more importantly for people who have secured new jobs.

The success of LEOs in Cork is not just about creating new jobs, they are also important in supporting businesses and existing employment. In Cork 466 businesses that create direct employment for more than 2,700 people have received support from LEOs.

The success of LEOs in Cork mirrors the success of these offices across the country. Nationally over 6,000 companies that directly employ more than 31,000 people have been supported. In twelve months alone this has created an 7,305 new jobs.

Start-up businesses and entrepreneurs drive growth in our economy and are responsible for creating two thirds of all jobs. Supporting these enterprises has the potential to support jobs growth in every town and village in the country. That is why Government have placed start-ups and entrepreneurs at the centre of our jobs plans.

Our Action Plan for Jobs is working with over 90,000 jobs added since its launch in February 2012. More jobs is the number one priority of Fine Gael in Government. We’re aiming for 40,000 extra this year and a return to full employment by 2018, two years ahead of target.

For more information click here.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Employment, Jobs Enterprise & Innovation, National Work

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