Sunday 18 March 2018

Bruton promises 'rapid' changes to wage deals

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton has promised "rapid changes" to reform minimum wage deals in major sectors including retail and hotels.

As he finished talks with the social partners on an overhaul of minimum wage deals yesterday, he promised reforms would create "immense opportunities".

He said changes would apply to new recruits and existing employees -- of which there are up to 250,000 -- by negotiation with employers.

However, the nature of the reform plan has still to be agreed by Cabinet.

Mr Bruton's Labour Party coalition partners have distanced themselves from his proposals to cut Sunday premium pay from the wage deals and rates for skilled and experienced workers. The minister said he was determined to make rapid changes to the sectoral wage system.

"I think reform will never satisfy everyone 100pc but I think what we will do is bring forward a package of reform to Government and I'm confident we will see quick reform in this area," said Mr Bruton.

"I believe it's important because there are job creation opportunities by reforming here, we've been told that by experts, and it's something I believe strongly myself."

Mr Bruton said existing employees would have the protection of their employment contracts when reforms were rolled out.

He said by pulling away some elements of statutory control there would be opportunities for new recruits.

The minister added that there were immense opportunities that could come from radical reform of the legally binding wage deals, known as employment regulation orders (EROs) and registered employment agreements (REAs).

He will discuss his proposals and separate recommendations put forward in an independent review to reform the wage deals with Cabinet in the coming weeks.

The Government will then come up with an action plan to reform the wage-setting mechanisms.

The review of the wage deals is a condition of the IMF/EU bailout.

Irish Independent

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