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Under a new law being introduced by the government, employers will be able to apply for an exemption from wage agreements by pleading 'inability to pay' in court, the Irish Independent reports.
The new legislation will require the consent of the majority of workers before employers can cut hourly pay. Once employers have consent, the court will inspect financial accounts for evidence of financial difficulties before granting an exemption for a period of up to 12 months.
Dara Calleary, Junior Minister for Labour said about the introduction of the new clause "it is not a free pass. It is only going to be for around 12 months. We have come across situations where companies had agreements with their workers to pay lower rates but there was no flexibility in the law to do this. What they then had to do was lay people off in order to make the bills add up."
However, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has accused the government of implementing an agenda "to drive down wages across all sectors."