Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon, has welcomed this week’s announcement by Minister Richard Bruton TD, of Government approval for the Workplace Relations Bill 2014, which will reduce from five to two, the number of workplace relations bodies in the State.

“I strongly welcome this move to merge five State workplace relations bodies into two; the Workplace Relations Commission which will deal with complaints at first instance, and the Labour Court which will deal with appeals.

“The practical result of this new legislation includes a streamlined workplace relations service and the introduction of cost efficiencies for the tax payer. The measures contained in the legislation will deliver 20% savings in staffing and 10% in budgets according to Minister Bruton. Crucially the changes will also deliver an improved service in protecting workers rights.

“I hope to see an improved workplace relations service for employers as well as employees. In my dealings with small and medium businesses in South Kildare, I have heard many stories of frustration in their dealings with entities such as NERA (which is being merged as part of this process).  The sense that employment law is very much stacked against the employer is also prevalent.  We must ensure that the environment exists where business owners are encouraged to grow and employ people while also ensuring that workers rights are protected.

I know that many small businesses have felt pressure to cope with bureaucracy and obstacles in this area and the increasing costs they face as a result. The new entities established by this legislation should help to tackle these issues but must find the balance between protecting workers rights and without adding to cost of doing business. It is the small businesses that are creating the jobs and getting Ireland back working again.

“I look forward to contributing to this legislation when it passes through the Dáil, and working to ensure the development of a first rate workplace relations system for all concerned.”