Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Monday, 5 November 2012

NI Employment Law Review

Employment Minister Stephen Farry described the Employment Law Review as "the most significant consideration of our employment relations system since employment law was devolved", on 5 November 2012.

The minister said it was unfortunate that the debate around employment law was "often pitched in terms of the interests of business against the rights of workers".

"We can fashion an employment law system that works in the interests of business, helps our economy to grow, attracts investment and encourages companies to recruit new staff and, at the same time, provides sufficient protection for the rights of employees, with opportunities for redress," he added.

Mr Farry explained the three main themes of the review; the early resolution of workplace disputes, efficient and effective employment tribunals, and measures to reduce the regulatory burden of employment laws.

The minister said he believed the matter was sufficiently critical to be considered by a "focused public consultation".

Employment Committee chairman Basil McCrea of the UUP complained about the length of the statement.

He considered it unfair to issue the statement "with only a few minutes beforehand and expect members to to ask questions about it".

The minister said that if he had made a short statement he "would be accused of being superficial".

Before the ministerial statement, Trevor Clarke of the DUP presented a public petition for a new build for Parkhall Integrated College in Antrim, and the SDLP's Alban Maginness presented a petition on the proposed closure of Artillery Youth Centre in north Belfast.

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