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ECA backs the future of REA

The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) has announced that it has formally decided to withdraw its support for an application by the Association of Electrical Contractors Ireland (AECI) to the Labour Court to cancel the Electrical - Registered Employment Agreement (REA).

The General Secretary, Eamon Devoy

Electricians throughout Ireland were faced with cancellation from 5 June that would have seen the industry thrown into chaos, with the only enforceable rate being the National Minimum Rate of €8.65 per hour.

The TEEU Executive Council met at the end of May and decided that in the event of the agreement being terminated by the Labour Court that the Union would convene in emergency session with a view to mobilising membership to defend the terms of the existing agreement.

At the eleventh hour, the ECA decided to honour their commitment with the TEEU to retain the industry-wide agreement. The existing rates of pay and terms and conditions of employment will now continue to apply until they are altered by mutual agreement.

The General Secretary, Eamon Devoy (pictured) said: “We cannot be complacent. The next hurdle is an application before the Supreme Court on 11 and 12 June 2012, by a number of non-aligned contractors who are appealing the Decision of Justice Hedigan whose Judgement in June 2010 upheld the validity of the Electrical REA. The effect of this appeal, if successful, would be to strike down the validity of the REA.”

New legislation is promised by mid-July 2012 by Minister Bruton that is designed to ensure that newly registered employment agreements will be sufficiently robust to see off any future challenges before the courts.

When the new legislation is in place, the TEEU and the ECA will make an application to the Labour Court, under the new legislation, to register the recently negotiated revised agreement.

The TEEU came into existence in 1992 arising from an amalgamation between the Electrical Trades Union and the National Engineering Electrical Trades Union. Both unions can trace their origins to 1920 when union activists in British-based unions believed Irish workers needed autonomous representation in the emerging Irish state.

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