The Government is examining ways to protect the pay and conditions of tens of thousands of workers after the High Court ruled wage contracts for low-earners were unconstitutional.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said he wanted interim measures to ensure vulnerable workers would not suffer but stressed reforms were needed to the Joint Labour Committee (JLCs) system.
Trade unions said the court's ruling was devastating news for workers while business chiefs demanded the JLCs be abolished.
Mr Bruton said: "It is not Government policy to scrap the JLC. Our policy is to retain the JLC but in a reformed framework."
He has had preliminary discussions with Attorney General Maire Whelan to determine the scope of the interim measures.
The minister is examining ways to rewrite the wage contracts, known as JLCs, including Sunday premium rates, Employment Regulation Orders and Registered Employment Agreements.
He accepted the High Court judgment had underlined the argument that the system needed to be reformed.
Siptu said the judgment was devastating news for those on low pay as it had stripped away the only protection they had on their wages. Patricia King, Siptu vice president, warned the union would do all in its power to defend workers whose wages are targeted, including strike action.
The High Court action was taken by the Quick Service Food Alliance in the name of chairman, John Grace, who runs a food outlet in Cork. The QSFA claimed the JLC system was unconstitutional, arbitrary and unfair.
The Restaurants Association of Ireland called on the Government to immediately abolish JLCs. It claimed Sunday Premium Payments were causing 40% of restaurants to close on Sundays.