Unions rule 'could threaten jobs'
Influential business lobby group Ibec warned today that forcing firms to recognise unions would not create a single job in Ireland and could threaten workers' futures.
The group disputed claims that the Lisbon Treaty set out rules ordering countries to change laws on industrial relations.
Ibec director Brendan McGinty said mandatory union recognition would turn away foreign companies thinking of investing here.
"Now, during a period of economic crisis, flexibility in industrial relations is more important than ever if we are to find a sustainable path to recovery," he said.
"Mandatory trade union recognition or a legal right to collective bargaining would not create a single job in this economy and would instead threaten many thousands of jobs by damaging our capacity to attract and retain inward investment.
"Irish employees are already well protected by a raft of employment legislation. Mandatory union recognition would only put off companies that are considering investing in the country and would act as a barrier to job creation."
Ibec issued the warning at its annual employment law conference in Dublin.
It said speculation on the issue spun out of Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which refers to a right of collective bargaining and action.
Loughlin Deegan, a solicitor in Ibec's employment law unit, said it does not force compulsory collective bargaining because Irish industrial relations laws are outside the scope of the Charter.