IC-ICTU reaction to Stormont announcement today of employment law reforms

IC-ICTU reaction to Stormont announcement today of employment law reforms

July 01, 2024

ICTU Assistant General Secretary Gerry Murphy said

“Trade unions in Northern Ireland welcome today’s announcement by the Economy Minister Conor Murphy that he is prepared to use Stormont’s devolved powers to deliver new employment legislation to update and improve the daily working lives of thousands of people.

The ‘Good Jobs’ employment bill will be the most substantial act from the NI Assembly for workers since devolution and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The series of improvements in four sections cover such matters as Zero-Hour Contracts, Fire & Rehire, the status of agency workers, holiday pay, better conditions for remote working and other daily challenges of the modern workforce. 

The rule book for workers’ rights has become significantly outdated, lagging behind the real-life changes experienced by the majority of workers due to technological advancements and other changes accelerated by globalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We also welcome the proposals to modernize how trade unions function, such as electronic rather than postal ballots for trade unions elections and industrial action, and the rights of unions to access workplaces and gain recognition so they can assist and represent workers.

Likewise, there are substantial improvements proposed to support family life. These include support for people with caring responsibilities, families hoping to adopt children, spend important time with newborn babies, or those needing leave after domestic violence. All of these are progressive and humane improvements to the law.

The Department for the Economy will be consulting on the detail of the ‘Good Jobs’ employment bill over the summer and we will be examining this in further detail.”

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