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News & Events

Minister Bruton calls for applications for membership of Board of the Workplace Relations Commission

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD, is inviting people from worker, employer and equality backgrounds, and those with expertise in workplace relations, resolution of workplace disputes and employment or equality law, who could contribute to the achievement of the purpose of the Commission, to apply for membership of the Board of the new Workplace Relations Commission.

The Workplace Relations Commission is part of a new two-tier workplace relations structure which will come into effect following the enactment of the Workplace Relations Bill 2014, as part of a suite of reforms being driven by Minister Bruton across his Department which will see the total number of Agencies and Offices under the Department reduced by 40 compared with 2011.

The purpose of the Commission will be to ensure high standards of compliance with employment legislation and in the conduct of industrial relations generally. The Commission will provide the means by which first instance complaints under employment rights and industrial relations legislation can be investigated, resolved by early intervention or adjudicated as appropriate. The Commission will also have the power to prosecute in cases where it suspects continued non-compliance with employment legislation on the part of employers or workers. The Commission will take over the inspection/enforcement functions of the Minister/NERA, all the functions of the Labour Relations Commission, the Equality Tribunal and the first instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Labour Court.

The nine-member Board of the Workplace Relations Commission will consist of:

  • A Chairperson,
  • Two people who, in the opinion of the Minister, represent the interests of employees,
  • Two people who, in the opinion of the Minister, represent the interests of employers,
  • One person who, in the opinion of the Minister, represents the interests of bodies who seek to promote equality in the workplace,
  • Three people who have experience and expertise in relation to workplace relations, resolution of disputes in the workplace, employment law or equality law.

Minister Bruton said “Reform of the State’s employment rights and industrial relations bodies has two principal goals: to deliver a better service for employers and employees, and to deliver savings for the taxpayer, businesses and workers. We have seen major progress in these areas already, and the formal establishment of the WRC will see further gains. The announcement we are making today is a further important step towards the final delivery of this important reform”.

The Board will have a range of responsibilities which include:

  • The preparation and submission of a Strategy Statement for the Workplace Relations Commission to the Minister;
  • To consult with the Director General and prepare and submit to the Minister a work programme of the work that the Workplace Relations Commission intends to carry out in the year ahead;
  • The Director General may consult with, or request the advice of the Board.

In keeping with the new procedures on appointments to State Boards, interested parties can apply for membership of the Board of the Workplace Relations Commission via http://www.stateboards.ie/stateboards/campaignAdvert/16595.htm

ENDS

For further information:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation 01- 6312200 or press.office@djei.ie

Note for editors:

Two statutorily independent bodies will replace the current five, a new single body of first instance to be called the Workplace Relations Commission and a separate appeals body which will be an expanded Labour Court.

The establishment of the Workplace Relations Commission will mark the final stage of the Workplace Relations Reform Programme but there have been significant developments since the commencement of the Programme which have already improved the service for users.

  • A Single Contact Portal, known as Workplace Relations Customer Services, was established in January 2012 to deal with all workplace relations complaints and enquiries. Complaints are now acknowledged and the Respondent notified within an average of three working days of receipt.
  • A Single Complaint Form, accommodating some 130 complaints which may be referred across the five Workplace Relations Bodies, was launched in January 2012 while an e-form version and full e-complaint facility was put in place in September 2013. Over 75% of complainants are now using the e-Complaint Form.
  • A Pilot Early Resolution Service commenced in May 2012. The Early Resolution Service aims to provide prompt intervention in a dispute through directly contacting the parties, or party representatives, to attempt to secure their voluntary participation.
  • A single website, www.workplacerelations.ie replacing the websites of the five Workplace Relations Bodies was launched in September 2013. This brings together comprehensive information on rights, obligations and good workplace relations and on the services and resources available to employers and employees, insofar as best practice and dispute resolution are concerned.
  • A Determinations Database, replacing the databases of the Labour Court, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Equality Tribunal, was launched in September 2013. Over 33,000 determinations are currently housed on the database which is hosted on the workplace relations website. The decisions of WRC adjudicators will, from Establishment Day, be published to this database which will be of significant interest to practitioners, users, academics and stakeholders.
  • As part of the establishment of the WRC, waiting times will be further reduced by putting in place a target period of three months from the time of complaint to hearing, and written, reasoned decisions within 28 working days of the hearing in 90% of cases.
  • The cost of running the workplace relations institutions will be cut by €2m (or 10%) when the project is completed. At the same time the number of staff assigned to the bodies will fall by 20% as efficiencies are generated following the mergers.