Covers the old regime, the need for change and the key provisions of the Act including a new definition of collective bargaining, excepted bodies, new principles and policies to assist the Labour Court, protection for employers, protection against victimisation and Registered Employment Agreements (REAs).

The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act came into effect on 1 August 2015.

The new Act aims to provide an improved framework for workers who seek to enhance their terms and conditions of employment, where collective bargaining is not recognised by their employer, as well as to provide a replacement system for Registered Employment Agreements (REAs), and a new type of order known as Sectoral Employment Orders (SEO).

The Act, which falls short of providing statutory union recognition, has been broadly welcomed by trade unions and worker groups. For employers who engage in some form of negotiation with a staff association (which is not a trade union) they need to assess whether this body is genuinely independent from the employer business and if so this may be sufficient to bring it outside the scope of the legislation.

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