Ireland is rare among advanced economies in not having statutory trade union recognition legislation for collective bargaining purposes. The matter has been a source of policy contention over the years with attempts to resolve it encapsulated in the so-called ‘Right to Bargain’ legislation, introduced in 2001. This legislation has sought to circumvent statutory recognition in Ireland by putting in place an alternative mechanism for unions to represent members in non-union firms where collective bargaining is not practiced. This review, based on a mixture of empirical and documentary evidence, demonstrates that this legislation was moderately successful for a short period in generating pay rises, improved employment conditions and better access to procedures for union members in non-unionised firms. Indeed, in some respects, it was a superior institutional mechanism to a statutory recognition regime.
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