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Trade Unions & Works Councils in Ireland

We advise employers on all aspects of industrial relations and collective employment law in Ireland.

Our team works with employers across all sectors to manage their engagement with trade unions and works councils. It has particular experience in advising on engaging with unions in the context of collective consultation exercises, industrial action and European Works Councils.

Collective Consultation

Our team develops proactive industrial relations strategies for businesses that need to engage in collective consultation. These take into account both legal and commercial considerations, and wider issues such as unions’ leverage campaign tactics.

Industrial Action

Proactive industrial relations strategies help employers avoid disputes. Industrial action is nevertheless sometimes unavoidable. Our team advises on all aspects of industrial action including union balloting, picketing, the withholding of pay, responding to unions’ leverage campaign tactics, and the strategic considerations involved in deciding whether to seek a strike injunction and applying for it.

European Works Councils

Our team has a particular focus on advising on European Works Councils under Irish law. It regularly advises on establishment requests, special negotiating body processes and the holding of annual and exceptional circumstances meetings.

It also draws upon its members’ extensive experience of defending EWC litigation in the UK’s Central Arbitration Committee and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. That experience includes successfully defending HPE against a challenge to it being the first multinational business to relocate its European Works Council arrangements from the UK to Ireland in anticipation of Brexit.

For further information, please see our guide on European Works Councils under Irish law.


Related items

European Works Councils under Irish Law

14 January 2021

European Works Councils are the only legally-mandated bodies for transnational information and consultation with employees in the world.

EWCs cannot slow down managerial decision-making

02 August 2019

In the UK’s first appeal case on the operation of a European Works Council (“EWC”), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has ruled that EWCs cannot slow down managerial decision-making by delaying the provision of an opinion after being informed and consulted.

UK CAC upholds the relocation of European Works Council arrangements to Ireland due to Brexit

21 June 2019

The Central Arbitration Committee (“CAC”) has ruled that multinational companies headquartered outside of the European Union are not prohibited from relocating their European Works Council (“EWC”) arrangements from the UK in anticipation of Brexit. Relocation does not undermine employees’ information and consultation rights and is in accordance with the fundamental EU law principle of freedom of establishment.

EU Commission confirms its views on EWCs and a “no-deal” Brexit

01 May 2019

The European Commission (“EC”) has recently revised its March 2018 guidance on the legal repercussions of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU for European Work’s Councils (“EWCs”), including the implications of a “no-deal” Brexit.

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