Of major concern currently to business are Private Members’ Bills proposing to abolish mandatory retirement ages and introducing rigid rules on banded hours and the overregulation of independent contractors. The proposals make minimal effort to address the needs of business and, as such, could significantly increase the regulatory burden, add costs and ultimately put jobs at risk. A balanced approach to employment regulation is key to Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to do business, and Ibec is actively working across all parties to ensure these proposals don’t progress in their current form.
On the industrial relations front a key objective of trade unions is a national referendum on collective bargaining designed to force employers to recognise trade unions. Such a move would be a blow to Ireland’s ability to foster indigenous business and attract foreign direct investment. Our industrial relations model is entirely consistent with international law and convention, and is one which has delivered for the economy in the form of growth, investment and jobs. Companies that choose to engage directly with their workforce have made a hugely positive contribution to the Irish economy, running successful, dynamic businesses with a progressive approach to employee engagement.
At Ibec we are redoubling our work to explain and communicate the value of Ireland’s current voluntarist approach to industrial relations for jobs and wider prosperity and we would greatly value your support to reinforce this message when it comes to your own interactions and communications.
At the organisational level, the HR conversation this year has been dominated by the quest for talent. A key theme for our HR Summit in October, organisations across the country shared with us the challenges faced to attract and retain key skills. As the economy reaches full employment and with fewer of our emigrants returning home this year than in previous years, organisations are constantly developing new and innovative ways to attract and retain key staff. These challenges are heightened by the lack of investment in housing, infrastructure, broadband and the high marginal tax rates. All of these factors impact strongly on an individual’s willingness to remain, relocate or indeed return home to Ireland to take up the very attractive labour market opportunities which currently exist.
As always, please get in touch directly if you have any comments or queries and I will keep you posted on this and other vital developments. For now, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your invaluable engagement with Ibec and we wish you a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Director Employer Relations, Ibec
Monday, 11 December 2017