The report confirms that board of governance requirements have now been filled and a three year statement of strategy published earlier this year.
The Adjudication service received over 13,451 specific complaints in the first year of operation. The related decisions are now being issued within 6 months from the date of the complaint submitted.
There were 5,221 inspections completed in the first year of service by the WRC Inspectorate (formerly NERA). These resulted in the issuing of 20 Fixed Payment Notices during the 12 months under review (most of the employers concerned having paid the fines). The report shows that most of the compliance notices issued remain uncontested.
In the 12 months under review, the number of Joint Investigation Unit (JIU) investigations carried out by the WRC Inspectorate in association with the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners increased to 420. In some instances the investigating team was accompanied by the Gardai.
Table 1 Inspections
|YEAR||NO. OF INSPECTIONS|
|1 October 2015 - 30 September 2016||5,221|
|1 January 2015 – 30 September 2015 (NERA)||3,535|
The Conciliation and Mediation Service chaired 1,814 conciliation conferences and mediations in the first year of operation.
The Information and Customer Service Division at the Workplace Relations Commission provides, amongst other things, information on rights and entitlements under Employment Legislation. This is done primarily through a telephone service operated by Information Officers. In the first 12 months this service logged 62,257 calls (see Table 2 below). Additionally, 5,821 e-forms were received as well as 1,481,286 web visits logged.
Table 2 Breakdown of calls received by the WRC Customer Services Division by topic
|Terms of Employment||10%|
|Payment of Wages||8%|
|Other Specific Conditions||3%|
Table 3 Breakdown of calls received by the WRC Customer Services Division by Sector
|Health and Childcare||9%|
|Wholesale and Retail Trade||8%|
|Food and Drink||6%|
The Advisory Service advises organisations on all aspects of industrial relations in the workplace; engaging with employees, employers and their representatives for the purpose of developing effective industrial relations practices and resolving disputes. The report cites as an example of their service, their intervention in the 2016 Luas dispute in the form of Conciliation
Table 4 Advisory Service Projects
|PROJECT TYPE||Total No.|
|SI 76 (“Collective Bargaining”)||10|
|Facilitation/Joint Working Parties||19|
|Company-level industrial relations review||11|
In terms of Training, the Advisory Service has provided training over the past 12 months in areas such as:
· Workplace procedures
· Dignity in the workplace
· Support in the management of workplace change
· Grievance/disciplinary/dispute arrangements
The Conciliation Service helps organisations to solve disputes when they have failed to reach agreement in their own discussions. In the relevant 12 months, the number of referrals to the Conciliation Service was 1,124. In addition, 319 facilitative processes were chaired and accommodated by divisional staff. Just 163 disputes were then referred to the Labour Court, and in most of these cases significant progress had been made by the WRC in narrowing the gap before the matter was passed on to the Court.
The total number of engagements for the Conciliation Service, taking above along with miscellaneous other matters totalled 1,853.
In terms of Mediation, the Early Resolution service offered services in 1,119 cases which resulted in acceptance by both parties in 598 cases. The paper has commented that in the first 12 months of service ERS and mediation is generally not at the levels expected. The WRC states this is due to the enhanced speed of the adjudication process, and mediation may not value; also that mediation is only engaged upon where both parties agree and this is not regularly occurring. The Commission has endeavoured to increase usage during 2017.
There were 52 requests for Workplace Dispute Mediation, 41 of which were resolved or withdrawn and the rest remain active at time of publication.
The Adjudication Service has grounded itself as the first-instance complaint body. The report details some early challenges, some having been addressed and others are ongoing:
- A standard decision template has been agreed, and to assist this, a Quality Assurance Group reviews a cross section of decisions to ensure consistency and improvement, while maintaining independence of Adjudicators.
- Over 80% of complaints are submitted online, expediting hearing times.
- A document Procedures for Investigation and Adjudication of Complaints were issued. There has been stakeholder feedback on this and it is currently being reviewed.
It is believed that “legacy” cases (those left from before WRC was created) will be concluded on within a year of the publication of the document.
Table 5 Complaints Received for Adjudication
|COMPLAINTS RECEIVED POST 30 SEPT 2015||NO.|
|No. of Complaint Applications Received||7,070|
|No. of Specific Complaints Received||13,450|
|No. of Decisions Issued||1,949|
Thursday, 15 December 2016