Technological Universities Bill 2015: Committee Stage (Continued)

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Select Sub-Committee on Education and Skills Debate
Vol. 2 No. 23

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Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Yes.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan There has been an extensive consultation process. I understand the issue. I have received the representations the same as the Deputies from unions representing staff. We will come to all of this later. I am certainly aware of the considerations.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Is Deputy O'Brien pressing his amendment?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien No.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy The advantage of withdrawing the amendments is that he can table them again.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Yes.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Is the Deputy withdrawing the amendment?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I will withdraw the six amendments on the understanding that I can table them on Report Stage.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Okay.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 2 to 6, inclusive, not moved.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Amendments Nos. 7, 18 to 20, inclusive, 24 and 26 are related and may be discussed together.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I move amendment No. 7:

In page 12, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:
" "Trade Union" means registered representative body with a negotiation licence.".

Amendment No. 7 is self-explanatory. Amendment No. 9 seeks to delete-----

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Amendment No. 9 is not included in this list. Amendments Nos. 18 to 20, inclusive, are on the list.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Amendments Nos. 18 to 20-----

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Does the Minister wish to comment?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien All the amendments are connected with trade unions.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan They have to do with trade unions and staff associations. The Bill, in sections 63, 67, 79 and 83, provides that members of staff of bodies dissolved under the Bill shall automatically become members of staff of the relevant merged institute or technological university. In addition, those sections ensure that transferring members of staff shall retain their existing conditions of remuneration, unless those conditions are varied in accordance with a collective agreement "negotiated with a recognised trade union or staff association". This is a standard provision which can be found in a wide range of legislation dealing with the transfer of staff from one body to another, including the Education and Training Boards Act 2013, the Roads Act 2015, the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. Amendments Nos. 7, 18 to 20, inclusive, 24 and 26, tabled by Deputy O'Brien, would have the effect of varying this standard wording and, for that reason, I cannot support them.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien In regard to the transfer of staff, I want to ensure that conditions and service will also transfer in terms of pensions and superannuation schemes. I am aware there are a number of superannuation schemes although the Bill refers to a superannuation scheme. I wish to flag that it does not refer to schemes.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The intention is that all of those things would be fully taken on board. As I have said, they have been incorporated in other legislation. That is the system that has worked. I will look at the issue of "scheme" versus "schemes" but I do not think it should cause any material problems.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I will table an amendment on Report Stage listing all the various schemes.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Okay. We will check to ensure the wording is correct.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Are there any other comments or questions on that issue?

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan I seek clarification on the term "staff association".

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan We say "recognised trade union or staff association". In most cases there would be recognised trade unions but maybe in a small number of cases they would be described as staff associations. We say that in order to be comprehensive in terms of what is included.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan Does the Minister have any particular example of a staff association?

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan It is the standard terminology that is used in all legislation. There may not be any relevant ones in this case but it is used in general to ensure that we do not leave anybody out.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan Could it lead to a staff association-----

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Some professional bodies would have associations rather than unions. There may not be any in this case. I can check it before we come to Report Stage to see if there are any specific associations.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Have the trade unions queried that wording?


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