From Socialist Voice, July 2010

Legal victory for the TEEU

The Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union has welcomed the judgement of Mr Justice John Hedigan in ruling against a group of electrical contractors on all counts in a legal challenge they brought against the Labour Court on the registered employment agreement (REA) for their industry.
      If they had been successful it could have adversely affected the pay and conditions of hundreds of thousands of workers who are covered by the REA system.
     Mr Justice Hedigan found against a group of seven named electrical contractors who had questioned the constitutional basis for the REA system and in particular the findings of the Labour Court in its latest review of the REA.
     The judge said the contractors should have brought any constitutional challenge separately from the judicial review of the Labour Court’s adjudication on the REA. The constitutional challenge was well outside the three-month time limit, even allowing that the electrical contractors concerned said they learnt of the provisions of the REA only in 2003. They could, however, issue plenary proceedings if they so wished.
     He found that the Labour Court had been correct in its interpretation of the Posted Workers Directive and the judgement of the European Court of Justice in the Laval case. Without the REA system to set standards there would be nothing to stop employers bringing in workers on low wages to undertake contracts.
     He also found that the Labour Court had not shown bias against the contractors at its hearings, that it had assessed evidence properly, and that subcontractors were covered by REAs, and always had been since the inception of the system.

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