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News & Events

First Strategy Statement for the Workplace Relations Commission embeds reforms and targets improved services for users – Minister Bruton

Workplace Relations Commission launches its Strategy Statement targeting reduced waiting times and promoting early resolution

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today launched the first Strategy Statement of the Workplace Relations Commission, aimed at embedding the radical reforms which have been achieved and delivering improved services for business and employees who use its services.

Among the targets and objectives set by the strategy, covering the years 2016-2018, are:

  • The Workplace Relations Commission will reduce waiting times with a target of three months from the time of complaint to hearing, with decisions issued on average within four months of complaint being submitted
  • WRC will target reduced costs to all parties (including the State) by resolution of more complaints outside adjudication
  • Employers will be notified, on average, within 10 working days of the complaint being lodged, thus increasing the possibility of a resolution being reached without the need for any hearing
  • Promote orderly collective bargaining
  • Enhance Dispute resolution service and delivery
  • Provide highest quality “real-time” adjudication
  • Drive employment legislation compliance
  • Develop and enhance enterprise-level workplace relations
  • Involve stakeholders on operational aspects of the Workplace Relations services

WRC Adjudication Hearings are being scheduled within on average 11 weeks at present - this is a huge improvement for many applicants who previously had to go the Equality Tribunal and / or the Employment Appeals Tribunal. In 2014 those bringing cases to the Equality Tribunal had been waiting up to 120 weeks for a hearing, while those that had been going to the Employment Appeals Tribunal had been waiting for over 60 weeks for their case to be scheduled for hearing.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said:

“If we are to deliver full employment in the coming years, we must have modern, flexible workplace relations institutions providing world-class services at low cost to employers and employees. That is why I started, in July 2011, the most radical reform of the State’s workplace relations institutions in 70 years, to deliver the top-class institutions which formally went live last October.

“Today we are embarking on the next stage of that journey, by publishing the first formal Strategy Statement of the WRC, laying out the targets and objectives which the organisation will deliver over the period to 2018.

“We are undoubtedly entering a difficult period for our economy, with many serious challenges both external and domestic. If we are to sustain the progress we have made, and achieve our target of sustainable full employment delivering improving living standards for all, we must implement prudent plans and use every lever we have to safeguard our competitiveness. The Workplace Relations Commission has a vital role to play in this, in delivering a world-class service to promote a stable industrial relations environment, supporting businesses and employees to retain good workplace relations. I am confident that the team we have at the WRC, and the strategy we are publishing today, will help to deliver on that”.

Speaking at the launch, the Director General, Mr Kieran Mulvey, acknowledged the Minister's particular interest in employment rights and industrial relations and thanked him for his support of the WRC from concept to start-up "he (the Minister) and the Department have provided every assistance to date in getting the WRC up and running. That continued assistance will be invaluable in delivering the Strategy in full". 

Dr Paul Duffy Chair of the WRC, said "this is a significant day as it sets the course for the WRC over the medium-term. The strategy is ambitious but the Board and staff share the Minister's ambition for the WRC and are determined to deliver." 

For further information contact: Press Office, D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or press.office@djei.ie 

Note for Editors:

The Strategy Statement is available at the following link: www.workplacerelations.ie/en/Publications_Forms/WRC-Statement-of-Strategy-2016-2018.pdf

Establishment of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC):

The Workplace Relations Commission was set up in October 2015 and is a two-tier Employment Rights and Industrial Relations structure which was set up to improve the State’s employment rights and industrial relations service and reduce the number of industrial relations bodies from 5 Agencies to 2.

The former Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) , the Equality Tribunal and the first instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) have merged to form one single body known as the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

In establishing the Commission, the Government’s objective was to put in place a framework that would deliver a world-class workplace relations service which is simple to use, independent, effective, impartial, and cost-effective and provides for workable means of redress and enforcement, within a reasonable period of time. 

WRC Adjudication Hearings are being scheduled within 11 weeks at present - this is a huge improvement for many applicants who previously had to go the Equality Tribunal and / or the Employment Appeals Tribunal. In 2014 those bringing cases to the Equality Tribunal had been waiting up to 120 weeks for a hearing, while those that had been going to the Employment Appeals Tribunal had been waiting for over 60 weeks for their case to be scheduled for hearing. 

The number of legacy rights commissioner cases fell by 46% and the number of legacy equality cases fell by 25% between q4 2015 and q1 2016 

Workplace Relations Reform Objectives:

  • The reforms are underpinned by a core two-tier structure, comprising a new single body of first instance, the Workplace Relations Commission, and a separate appeals body which is effectively an expanded Labour Court.
  • The reform has resulted in the merging of the functions of the former Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) , the Equality Tribunal and the first instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).
  • The reform aims to deliver a world-class workplace relations service which is simple to use, independent, effective, impartial and cost-effective, and
  • provide for workable means of redress and enforcement within a reasonable period, and to reduce costs.

ENDS