Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2022
The conflict that can arise when rules on competition law and the right to bargain collectively intersect has been a live issue amongst those interested in employment relations in Ireland for more than two decades now, as a series of conflicts has arisen in this space. When collective bargaining rights and competition law clash, the parties involved have generally swerved the issue through a mixture of negotiated ‘solutions’, and, more recently, a controversial legislative measure. Increasingly, however the issue is becoming one that requires to be addressed head on. This chapter examines how the Irish ‘voluntarist’, common law, system of employment relations has responded when competition law and collective representation rights are at odds. It will focus, particularly, on some paradigmatic disputes and reflects on how Irish law generally views the restriction on ‘economic freedom’ inherent in collective representation rights.