Provision of a Sectoral Employment Order in Bus Industry

23 March 2017


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor)
by Deputy Brendan Ryan
for ORAL ANSWER on 23/03/2017

To ask the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation her views on the provision of a sectoral employment order in the bus industry; if she will engage with unions and management in the area to work towards providing these agreements; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act of 2015 provides for a new statutory framework – Sectoral Employment Orders - for establishing minimum rates of remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment for a specified type, class or group of workers.  This is in effect a framework to replace the former sectoral Registered Employment Agreement (REA) system which was found to be unconstitutional in 2013 in McGowan - v – The Labour Court. 

The new framework sets down a mechanism whereby at the request, separately or jointly from organisations substantially representative of employers and/or of workers, the Labour Court can initiate a review of the pay and pension and sick pay entitlements of workers in a particular sector and, if it deems it appropriate, make a recommendation to myself as Minister on the matter. If I am satisfied that the process provided for in the 2015 Act has been complied with by the Labour Court, I can then make the Order. Where such an order is made it is known as a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO), will be binding across the sector to which it relates, and will be enforceable by the Workplace Relations Commission.

To-date four applications for SEOs have been made to the Labour Court – one was withdrawn and one was rejected. The remaining two are being considered by the Labour Court.  No application has been made by or on behalf of workers or employers in the Transport Sector.

In situations such as the Bus Eireann dispute I would always advise and appeal to parties to use the offices of the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court and they have done so on this occasion.  I would encourage both sides to continue to engage with the Workplace Relations Commission to try to resolve this dispute.