Sectoral Employment Order for electrical workers quashed by High Court

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Sectoral Employment Order For Electrical Workers Quashed By High Court Sectoral Employment Order For Electrical Workers Quashed By High Court
The NECI's challenge has been brought on grounds including that submissions made by the NECI regarding the proposed SEO for electrical workers were not correctly dealt with by the Labour Court.
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High court reporters

The High Court has agreed to set aside a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) which sets pay and condition for electrical workers.

On Tuesday Mr Justice Charles Meenan was informed that the State was not objecting to an order sought by the Náisiúnta Leictreach Contraitheor Eireann/National Electrical Contractors of Ireland (NECI) to quash a SEO, which came into effect at the start of February.

In its action NECI, which operates as a trade association for electrical contractors, claimed the SEO for electrical workers was flawed on several grounds.

Represented by Helen Callanan SC, instructed by HG Carpendale Solicitors the NECI had brought judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.

It had previously been granted permission by the High Court to bring its challenge, and the case had been awaiting a trial date.

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However, when the matter was mentioned before the court on Tuesday Mr Justice Meenan was informed that an order could be made quashing the SEO.

The proceedings were then struck out and a cost order was made in favour of the NECI.

Nationally binding SEOs are made under the 2015 Industrial Relations Act when either employers or trade unions make applications to the Labour Court to examine pay and conditions for a defined economic sector.

The Labour Court may then make a recommendation to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment for an SEO.

If accepted the Minister, then fixes the statutory minimum rates of pay and regulates the conditions of employment of the works to whom the SEO apply.

The NECI's challenge has been brought on grounds including that submissions made by the NECI regarding the proposed SEO for electrical workers were not correctly dealt with by the Labour Court.

The NECI also claimed that the SEO also imposed conditions of employment which it claimed could not be complied with.

The NECI alleged that there were no pension schemes, sick pay schemes or death in service schemes in Ireland that could comply with the requirements prescribed in the SEO.

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The NECI had challenged an earlier SEO in relation to electrical workers. In 2021 the Supreme Court overturned the High Court's finding that aspects of the 2015 Act were unconstitutional.

However, the court upheld the lower court's decision that the Minister for Business and Enterprise and Innovation acted outside his powers in June 2019 in making a sectoral employment order (SEO) for electricians.

Following the Court's findings, a revised SEO for the sector was formulated, and approved by the Minister.

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