Employment Regulation Orders (ERO’s) and Registered Employment Agreements (REA’s) were established in 1946 when government brought in legislation which allowed employers and unions to entered into agreements that were legally binding, not only on the parties to the agreements but also to sectors in which they carried on business.
These agreements typically set out minimum rates in excess of the National Minimum Wage and very often provided automatic incremental increases based solely on years of service. Other conditions of employment were often included in these agreements also.
Some might say that while the legislation was to prevent exploitation it did establish some cosy cartels. Not surprisingly these agreements are coming under some legal challenge as to their constitutional rights and there are three cases currently at various stages before the courts, so we expect to see some changes in the near future.