SIPTU members have condemned the failure of Fianna Fáil senators to support a Bill which would have strengthened the system of Joint Labour Committees (JLCs), which protect the pay and conditions of low paid workers, in a vote in Seanad Éireann today (Wednesday, 27th November). The Industrial Relations (Joint Labour Committees) Bill 2019, proposed by Labour Party Senator Ged Nash, was defeated at its Second Stage in the Seanad by 22 to 20 votes. The Bill was supported by Labour, Sinn Féin and Independent Senators but opposed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.SIPTU Sector Organiser, Martin O’Rourke, said: “The Industrial Relations (Joint Labour Committees) Bill 2019 sought to strengthen the system of JLCs by removing a veto on their operation which can be enforced by employers’ groups or unions refusing to engage. It would allow JLCs to operate as the Oireachtas intended them to and would be a strong incentive for employers in certain sectors of the economy including hospitality and contract catering, to end their obstructionist tactics.”He added: “It is inexplicable why Fianna Fáil Senators decided to back Fine Gael in opposing this piece of proposed legislation which would have allowed for the legally enforceable setting of pay rates above the national minimum wage for workers in low paid economic sectors.”Among the SIPTU activists who attended the Seanad today to witness the debate on the Industrial Relations (Joint Labour Committees) Bill 2019, was chef Martin Murga.He said: “JLCs allow for sector-wide collective bargaining. Such an approach has been proven to increase business productivity, reduce staff turnover and help avoid conflict on the workplace floor. The JLC system also ensures better pay and conditions for low paid workers.”He added: “As a SIPTU member I find it unacceptable that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael senators voted against a Bill that would make the JLC system more effective.”