McGowan & ors v Labour Court Ireland & anor 
Case Reference IESC 21
Legal BodyIrish Supreme Court (IESC)
Type of Claim / JurisdictionContracts of Employment, Collective and Trade Union Issues, Pay and Conditions of Employment
Industry-wide collective agreements have been accepted in Ireland for many years. In this judgement, the Supreme Court has ruled the system for governing terms and conditions of employment in the electrical industry and, by extension, other industries, unconstitutional.
Two main collective systems apply in Ireland. One, the Joint Labour Committee system, was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court in 2011. The second, Registered Employment Agreements (REAs), has now suffered a similar fate in the Supreme Court.
The appellants were electrical contractors concerned that wage rates for
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