Joint Labour Committee Rates Of Pay - Unconstitutional Decision

Author:Mr Paul Glenfield
Profession:Matheson Ormsby Prentice

Originally published in the Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Newsletter Winter 2011.

In July 2011, the High Court handed down its landmark ruling on Joint Labour Committees in the case of John Grace Fried Chicken Ltd .v. Catering Joint Labour Committee(10) regarding a constitutional challenge mounted by members of the Quick Service Food Alliance. The challenge concerned the right of the Catering Joint Labour Committees (the "JLCs") and the Labour Court to set minimum rates of pay and employment conditions for workers in the catering industry. In effect, the Quick Service Food Alliance were seeking to quash the current Employment Regulation Orders and the entire JLC system. In his ruling, Mr Justice Feeney declared, inter alia, that the delegation of the power to make Employment Regulation Orders under the Industrial Relations Acts 1946 and 1990 to the JLCs and the Labour Court was unconstitutional. The court found the Employment Regulation Order was an unreasonable, unlawful and disproportionate interference with property rights and the determination of rates of pay and employment conditions had been undertaken in an arbitrary and illegal manner in breach of property rights.

Whilst the ruling may not affect existing workers in areas covered by the JLC system, depending on the particulars of their contractual arrangements...

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