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Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Meetings with Workers Organisations.

Tuesday, 18 October 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 10

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29.

Mr. O'Leary: asked the Minister for Labour the names of organisations he has met up to the present in his current round of meetings with workers organisations; whether a schedule of meetings has been drawn [1385] up; if he will state the organisations involved; and whether at this stage it is possible to predict the probable date of the conclusion of oral discussions.

Minister for Labour (Dr. Hillery): Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Up to the 17th October I have met the following workers organisations: The Irish Shoe and Leather Workers Union, The Irish National Teachers Organisation, The Operative Plasterers and Allied Trades Society of Ireland, The Irish Union of Distributive Workers and Clerks.

As well, I have met one employer organisation, namely, the Federation of Boot Manufacturers of Ireland.

I have written to the following, suggesting dates for meetings: The Federation of Rural Workers Trade Union, The Irish Municipal Employees Trade Union, The Irish National Union of Woodworkers, The Irish Women Workers Union, RGDATA.

I shall be writing to all the unions and organisations individually, inviting them to meet me.

At this stage it is not possible to predict the probable date of the conclusion of these discussions.

Mr. O'Leary: Is the Minister putting a set series of questions to each organisation or is he treating each of them in a particular way?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery The meetings are purely informal without any definite questions being fixed beforehand. They mainly give those organisations an opportunity to tell me the problems which they have and to discuss any general problems. Each meeting is purely informal and is without an agenda.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Are the discussions purely on the proposals with regard to what the Minister might want to incorporate in the trade union law?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery The discussions cover the very wide range of the activities of the Department of Labour in which unions would be interested. They cover factory work, conditions of employment, manpower policy and such subjects.

[1386]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The main purpose is to discuss the changes in trade union law?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery No. The main purpose is to allow the various organisations to become acquainted with the activities of the new Department of Labour.

Mr. O'Leary: What matters are discussed by the Minister?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Those meetings are designed to make the Department of Labour available for the people for whom it was set up and so that we can all know the problems which exist.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey In the discussions which the Minister had with the unions so far was the question of industrial relations mentioned?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan This is not relevant to the question.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Discussions of such matters will, as heretofore, be with the ICTU but if those people wish to raise these matters in the discussions with me, they can do so.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Has this matter been raised with the four unions mentioned?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I do not think it would be fair to say so.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Does the Minister appreciate the fact that a peculiar situation can arise where he is going to meet, informally, a group of trade unions and discuss certain matters with them? His officials will probably be taking notes and they can, at a later date, say that this is what a certain trade union wanted done.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I do not think the Deputy is taking the right attitude in regard to this. In fact, the purpose of the Department of Labour is to discuss various labour problems and to try to seek solutions for them. Any attempt by the Deputy to prevent the Department being used by the people for whom it was set up would be bad for labour relations entirely.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Will it not give an opportunity—this will most certainly [1387] be objected to by me as well as by many others—to the Minister to try to bulldoze the trade unions?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery It certainly will not.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Why is the Minister so evasive in regard to the question which I asked?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery What question?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey I asked whether industrial law was discussed with individual unions whom the Minister already met. The Minister has not answered that.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery There would be some reference to it. I would not like to create a situation where the Deputy, by a supplementary question, would put them on the spot. If the Deputy thinks it is a good thing to create suspicion I think he is wrong.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The Minister is trying to bulldoze those people.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery You can put me on the spot but do not try to do so in regard to those people.


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