SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, has welcomed new draft legislation on collective bargaining which the Government has published today describing it as an important and long awaited development by the Irish trade union movement. The legislation will improve the rights of workers seeking to negotiate collectively with employers through their unions to secure improvements in pay and conditions when an employer refuses to engage in collective bargaining. “Even the IMF now holds the view that the demise of collective bargaining in the US directly contributed to the economic collapse there in 2008. It is the key mechanism by means of which the benefits of output are distributed between labour and capital. In its absence, inequality has grown exponentially in that country. Apart from bring undesirable in itself this undermines the purchasing power of whole swathes of the population thus compromising the very viability of the economic system itself. “Indeed the reluctance of the Syriza government in Greece to dismantle the collective bargaining infrastructure there at the behest of the Troika has emerged as a key issue in its negotiations over its debt and bailout programme. “This legislation is a welcome and long awaited development and has been one of the key demands of the trade union movement which the Labour Party managed to negotiate in the Programme for Government in 2011,2 Jack O’Connor said. The collective bargaining legislation will allow for the Labour Court to make a determination in a dispute which can then be enforced by way of a Circuit Court order. It also contains measures to prevent workers from being victimised through dismissal – specifically the right to seek injunctive relief prior to any attempted dismissal taking place.