SIPTU Vice-President, Patricia King, has said that cabinet approval today for proposed new legislation on collective bargaining can help to improve the terms and conditions of employment for very many Irish workers. She was responding to confirmation from the Government that the cabinet has agreed a revised Heads of Bill on a collective bargaining law which is expected to be enacted by mid-2015. “The proposed legislation agreed by the Government today is a very positive step as it provides for an effective system whereby workers who are not covered by collective bargaining can, through their trade union, improve their terms and conditions of employment,” Patricia King said. “It also provides protection against victimisation for workers seeking to exercise their right to collective bargaining as well as restricting attempts by employers to incentivise people against using it. Where workers are not currently covered by collective bargaining this legislation provides access only for trade unions to process claims on their behalf. This will restore the balance in the worker-employer relationship.”Under the proposals workers, through their trade unions, may obtain a binding decision from the Labour Court or the Circuit Court providing for improvements to their pay or terms of employment if the employer does not comply with the new legislation. It also makes non-compliance by an employer found by the Labour Court to have victimised an employee to be a criminal offence.Patricia King added: “These proposals agreed by the Cabinet today have yet to be enacted by both houses of the Oireachtas but they are an important step in pursuit of an objective for which Irish workers have been fighting since the 1913 Lockout.”