SIPTU members have expressed their support for a new Bill which seeks to strengthen the system of Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) at a meeting with politicians in Leinster House, Dublin 2, today (Thursday, 21st November). The existing JLCs set minimum conditions and rates of pay for low paid sectors of the workforce including for those working in the security and contract cleaning sectors. However, there ahs been resistance by employers to the establishment of a JLC in the hotel and hospitality industries. The Industrial Relations (Joint Labour Committees) Bill 2019, proposed by Senator Ged Nash of the Labour Party, if enacted, will ensure that the functioning of JLCs cannot be obstructed by employer organisations or trade unions. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Martin O’Rourke, said: “While JLCs are currently operating well within the contract cleaning and security sectors other workers are being denied this simple protection from a race to the bottom. “However, employer organisations have blocked the operation of the JLCs in other sectors. They do this by refusing to participate in the process of discussion with trade unions on what should constitute the minimum standards and pay rates in the sector. This has resulted in low wages, poor working conditions and exploitative business practices.” He added: “The private members’ Bill introduced by Senator Nash will, if enacted, remove this veto and allow the JLCs to operate as the Oireachtas intended. It would allow the Labour Court to make its own binding proposals in sectors where either the employee or employee representatives refuse to engage in the JLC.” Among the SIPTU activists who addressed the politicians in a meeting in Leinster House today, was chef Martin Murga. He said: “The pursuit of profit pits worker against worker, good employer against bad employer. Such a process leads to ever declining pay and conditions in a sector. This adversely impacts on workers and customers. JLCs are the best way to ensure that the race to the bottom is ended and this proposed new law will help them function better.” Among the politicians present at today’s briefing were Senator Nash, Sinn Féin senator, Paul Gavan, independent senator, Mary Alice Higgins, Social Democrat TD Roisín Shortall, Fianna Fáil TD, Brendan Smyth, Labour TDs, Brendan Ryan and Jan O’Sullivan, Labour senator, Ivana Bacik and independent TD, Thomas Pringle.. The Industrial Relations (Joint Labour Committees) Bill 2019 will be put before the Seanad on Wednesday, 27th November.