Dáil Éireann - Volume 373 - 17 June, 1987

Written Answers. - Hairdressing Industry.

144. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Labour the plans, if any, he has to extend the scope of the Joint Labour Committee for the hairdressing industry outside of County Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Cork City; if his attention has been drawn to the abuses of labour regarding pay and conditions of employment which is occurring in this trade; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that some [2351] employers are paying employees less than the weekly payment being received from the National Manpower Service; if he is further aware of the abuses of the apprenticeship in the trade where employers refuse to register them; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern): Under the Industrial Relations Act, 1946, the power to set up Joint Labour Committees or to extend the scope of existing committees rests with the Labour Court. An application for the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee or for the extension of an existing committee may be made to the Labour Court by (a) the Minister for Labour, (b) a trade union, or (c) any organisation or group of persons claiming to be representatives of the workers or the employers concerned.

I have no plans at present for the extension of the scope of existing hairdressing Joint Labour Committees which cover the following areas: the County and County Borough of Dublin, the Borough of Dún Laoghaire and the Urban District of Bray, and the Cork County Borough. Neither has any application been made to the Labour Court to date by any trade union or by any organisation representative of the relevant workers or employers either for the extension of the scope of the existing committees or for the establishment of a new committee to cover other areas.

My attention has not been drawn to any widespread abuses of pay and working conditions in the industry though, as is normal in relation to all industries covered by Employment Regulations Orders, my Department has received complaints in individual cases. These cases are followed up and, where necessary, referred for consideration as to the institution of legal proceedings.

Concerning the Deputy's allegation about low pay in particular, it is not clear what weekly payment from the National Manpower Service he may have in mind. If the Deputy is suggesting that some employers who are receiving payments [2352] under the various schemes operated by my Department are paying their employees less than the amount they receive by way of such payments, then I would be glad to investigate any cases in which this is alleged to have occurred. My Department has no evidence of this practice.

Finally, inspectors of my Department have not detected any widespread neglect of the requirement to register apprentices. ]Where any breach in this respect is noted, the attention of the employer is drawn to it and the matter rectified.