The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) recently published its fourth Annual Report, which highlighted a significant increase in activity relative to previous years.
The Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market, and Data Protection, Mr Pat Breen, welcomed the Annual Report by the WRC of its progress in terms of service delivery and output in 2018. “Last year was a very successful year for the WRC. In terms of the Adjudication Service the number of hearings has increased by 20% over the period while there has also been a significant increase in the overall number of face-to-face mediations conducted in the year, more than doubling on the 2017 outturn. In addition, there was a 20% increase in the inspections concluded by the WRC in 2018.”
The WRC was successful in recovering over €3m in unpaid wages for employees over the year, an increase of 75% on 2017.
The Minister added “The Conciliation Service of the WRC, which deals with industrial relations disputes, held 1,145 conferences covering some 926,427 employees in 2018. It is heartening that although there were 4,050 days lost to industrial relations disputes in the period, this the lowest level since 2012.” Mr. Paul Duffy, chairperson of the Board of the WRC commented “Building on the WRC’s achievements, the Board submitted a strategy statement to the Minister to cover the period 2019-2022. Informed by core values of trust, independence, impartiality and innovation, the Statement set the WRC a fundamental target of establishing itself as a world leader in delivering an effective, efficient and trusted workplace relations service”.
Mr. Liam Kelly, Director General (Designate) of the WRC said, “The past year witnessed a significant increase in demand and output:
- telephone enquiries increased by 10%,
- conciliation referrals increased by 13%,
- individual complaints submitted for adjudication or inspection increased by 10%,
- inspections concluded increased by 20%
- The number Adjudications heard increased by 20%.
- The number of Adjudication decisions increased by 32%, and
- The number of overall mediations increased by 220%.
The main functions of the WRC are to:
- Promote the improvement and maintenance of good workplace relations.
- Promote and encourage compliance with relevant employment, equality and equal status legislation.
- Provide guidance in relation to compliance with Codes of Practice.
- Conduct reviews of, and monitor developments in, workplace relations generally.
- Conduct or commission relevant research and provide advice, information and the findings of research to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils.
- Advise the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation on the application of, and compliance with, relevant legislation.
- Provide information to the public in relation to employment legislation. (other than the Employment Equality Act).
With a wide workforce of just under 200 staff, supplemented by over 30 external adjudicators, and with offices in Dublin, Carlow, Cork, Shannon and Sligo, and operational bases for hearings and meetings in many counties, the WRC’s mission is to deliver high-quality service nationally, free of charge, which is
-speedy, user-friendly, independent, effective, impartial and cost-effective,
-provides variable means of dispute resolution, redress and effective enforcement, and
-improves workplace relations generally